Insurance reform delayed as FF & FG TDs vote to defer Sinn Féin bill
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has described as ‘bitterly disappointing’ the decision of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Deputies to delay the Bill, authored by Pearse Doherty, that would help end the insurance rip-off.
Sinn Féin’s Insurance Bill would reduce insurance prices by banning the practice of ‘dual pricing’, used by companies to identify loyal customers and charge them artificially high premiums. The practice affects millions of policyholders, costing many customers hundreds of euro per year on their car and home insurance.
Teachta Carthy said:
“Last week the Dáil voted on Sinn Féin’s Insurance Bill to ban the practice of dual pricing and increase transparency in how the insurance industry sets prices. It was bitterly disappointing that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs, including those representing Cavan/ Monaghan voted to defer the movement of this bill to the next stage by 9 months.
“This legislation would put money back in the pockets of motorists and homeowners by reducing their premiums. It would stop insurance companies penalising and ripping-off loyal customers. It is inexcusable that the government would seek to delay such reform.
“In the past decade, insurance costs have risen by 35 percent despite the cost of claims falling by 9 percent.
“Insurance companies price gouge Irish customers every year using a practice that is banned in 20 US states and is soon to be banned in Britain. They use dual pricing to target loyal and vulnerable customers and then charge them artificially high premiums when they renew.
“This is the loyalty penalty, overcharging customers by hundreds of euros every year.
“Banning dual pricing would reduce the cost of home and car insurance for customers, requiring the Central Bank to draw up and enforce regulations that will govern the ban, with any insurance companies that ignore the ban facing heavy financial penalties.
“In Britain, the financial regulator estimates that a ban would cut insurance costs for customers by 10%, saving customers between €4 and €13 billion over the next decade.
“Unfortunately, the government tabled a motion that delayed this legislation for nine months. It is regrettable that Cavan Monaghan Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael deputies facilitated this delay considering the high insurance charges faced by motorists, home-owners and businesses in this constituency.
“In reality the government decision will delay this reform for over a year. Irish consumers will pay the price for this dithering.
“It is time to end the insurance rip-off and reduce prices for customers. This government are clearly not up to tackling that rip-off; but we in Sinn Féin are. We will continue to press this matter at every opportunity”.