“Policyholders are either legally or morally obliged to have insurance. The working assumption is that the State will then supervise the insurance industry to ensure that vested interests do not exploit this obligation,” commented Alliance Director Peter Boland, “However you cannot supervise a sector in any meaningful way if you do not have the data to do so. It is astonishing how little transparency exists in such a systemically important industry and the latest update from the Cost of Insurance Working Group illustrates how little the State has done in this regard since the insurance crisis emerged. It certainly feels like the State has abandoned policyholders in their hour of need.“
He went on to cite examples of key transparency measures not delivered or only partially delivered:
- The Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database liability insurance proposals have still not been published and given the pace at which the NCID projects move, the Alliance fears that this report will not now be published in 2020
- The long-promised Key Information Report on Liability Insurance is now further delayed with no sign of a due date. It is currently 15 months overdue
- The Insurance Fraud Database, using Insurance Ireland’s InsuranceLink, is further delayed and is now over a year overdue. The mention of an independent body to manage InsuranceLink has been dropped in the latest CIWG update “so we fear that this project is going backwards” he stated
- There has been no concrete progress on a proposed CSO liability insurance index
- The NCID private motor insurance report was at best partial, with only one year of Income & Expenditure data. At least four years income & expenditure data is needed to draw meaningful conclusions in an industry as cyclical as insurance.
“The Government and the Central Bank have been culpable in drawing a veil of secrecy over the liability insurance market since the Central Bank abolished the Blue Book in 2015,” continued Peter Boland, “While the partial NCID private motor insurance report exposed some inconvenient truths about the money being made out of the insurance crisis by insurers and lawyers, we continue to have no transparency on liability insurance. Businesses continue to close down and community, voluntary, arts & cultural, sports and charity organisations continue to suffer.
“To rub salt into the wounds the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019, claimed as progress in the press release accompanying the CIWG update, has still not been commenced by the Minister for Finance so is of no value to policyholders.”
Furthermore, claims in the release that ‘reforms are having a significant impact with regard to private motor insurance’ use CSO figures that have been “debunked by the far more comprehensive data published in the NCID” which shows motor insurance premiums continuing to rise.
“We need real reforms urgently, not spin,” he concluded.