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Programme for Government 2020

We sent the following email to the political parties involved in the Programme for Government negotiations:

The issue of insurance reform was already an absolute priority for Irish SMEs, community groups, sports and cultural organisations, charities and other voluntary groups prior to the emergence of Covid19. But as we start to work out what kind of country we will have post-Covid19, it is critical that the incoming Government clearly commits to getting insurance sorted as a matter of urgency, so that it is no longer a barrier to the success of businesses and community organisations.

So we wish to summarise the urgent actions the Alliance for Insurance Reform wishes to see included in the new Programme:

  • Establish a Cabinet committee to coordinate action and ensure the necessary reforms are put in place urgently.  All relevant Ministers to be actively involved in this committee. This committee to make a progress report to the Dáil on a monthly basis.
  • Cut unfair general damages to reflect international norms and ensure that legitimate minor injuries attract modest damages. The Alliance expects general damages for minor injuries to be dramatically reduced along the lines of the Fair Book of Quantum published by ISME.
  • Urgently review and re-balance the “common duty of care” so that occupiers are required to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate but not absolute, ignoring personal responsibility.
  • Fully resource a dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit.
  • Insist on insurers committing to a schedule of reductions on delivery of the key reforms listed above.

Other ideas from the various GE2020 manifestos that would help make the Irish insurance market more sustainable and more consumer-friendly include:

  • Ban dual pricing.
  • Commence and enforce the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019.
  • Create, from existing resources, an office within Government tasked with encouraging the entry of international insurers into the Irish market.
  • Establish a new Consumer Affairs Committee in Dáil.
  • Give the Competition regulator (the CCPC) effective enforcement powers to punish and deter anti-competitive conduct.
  • Introduce a new deterrent to prevent individuals with a history of bringing fraudulent claims from bringing new claims without the prior approval of the High Court, to deal with serial claimants.
  • Make it an offence to knowingly provide false information to PIAB.
  • Make perjury a statutory offence and easier to prosecute, to ensure that false or misleading evidence in insurance cases is discouraged.
  • Provide affordable insurance options to arts and culture, community, charity and sports groups that cannot source insurance, as an emergency measure.
  • Reduce the claims period for minor soft injury tissue injuries.
  • Regulate Claims Management Companies.
  • Require lawyers to comply with the duties of candour, to ensure they do not to seek to win litigation by any improper means.
  • Strengthen solicitors advertising regulations to include stronger enforcement of any regulations surrounding advertising of “no win, no fee” legal services.

We are available at short notice to meet or communicate by phone or email if you need any further information or clarification.

Kind regards,

Alliance for Insurance Reform

The overriding aim of the Alliance is to:

Leverage reforms that will quickly reduce liability and motor insurance premiums to affordable levels and keep them that way.

A very long list of potential objectives has been refined to three general areas and nine specific ‘real reforms’.  These reforms are intended to be feasible, achievable within a limited timeframe and ultimately effective.

Given the need for urgent action, we have excluded many exemplary suggestions because they are long-term in nature. The actions have been refined following meetings with key policyholders.