Sinn Féin crusade to tackle high insurance costs continues – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has said that his party’s crusade against high insurance costs will continue in 2021. He was speaking after his colleague, Pearse Doherty, published new legislation that will ban dual pricing from the insurance market and empower the Central Bank, courts and Financial Ombudsman to enforce the new laws.
This comes after the Central Bank found that the majority of customers are paying significantly more than the expected cost of their policy, with some policyholders being overcharged by as much as 35% every year. Sinn Féin have long called for a ban on the practice, which leads to consumers being charged artificially high premiums.
Deputy Carthy criticised Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments will have let the insurance companies ‘run amok’ for too long saying that any actions taken have been slow coming and inadequate. Carthy said that he expects insurance costs to reduce somewhat in the coming year largely due to Pearse Doherty’s campaign.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The Insurance (Restriction of Differential Pricing and Profiling) Bill 2020, which Pearse Doherty has published, is a landmark moment for the Irish insurance market.
“This legislation will ban dual pricing in the insurance market, reduce prices and increase fair competition in the market.
“Dual pricing involves insurers using big data and complex pricing practices to target costumers who are less likely to shop around, before charging them artificially high premiums at renewal.
“Last week’s Interim Report by the Central Bank on the use of dual pricing by the insurance industry is a shocking indictment of the industry and how it price gouges its customers.
“The Central Bank has found that renewing customers are paying significantly more than the actual cost of their policy.
“This affects more than 70% of insurance customers.
“The report shows that 2.5 million policyholders are paying a total of €187 million more than the actual cost of their policies as a result of dual pricing.
“In motor insurance, customers are being overcharged by as much as 25% a year, while in home insurance customers are being overcharged by as much as 35%.
“The average motor insurance customer who has been with their provider for five years will have been overcharged €362 by their insurer.
“The Central Bank also found that this disproportionately impacts older and more vulnerable customers. This has to stop.
“In Britain, the FCA found that 6 million policyholders were overcharged a combined total of €1.3 billion as a result of dual pricing in 2018 alone.
“That is why the British regulator is banning the practice. It is why dual pricing has been banned in 20 US States since 2014.
“Dual pricing discriminates, it overcharges customers and distorts the market.
“Sinn Féin, through Pearse Doherty, has published legislation that will ban the use of dual pricing by insurance companies. This legislation will reduce premiums, resulting in significant savings for consumers.
“It will also require insurers to inform customers of the factors they have used to calculate their premiums at renewal. This legislation will require the Central Bank to regulate this ban on dual pricing, and publish a Code of Practice that will assist both the Courts and the FSPO where an insurance company has broken these new laws.
“Sinn Féin vowed to end the rip-off by the insurance industry. Banning dual pricing was a commitment we made in our General Election Manifesto. This legislation will ban the practice and reduce prices for consumers.
“For too long Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have allowed the insurance industry to run amok. Companies have closed as a result while many others have been strangled by insurance costs. Motorists and home owners have been fleeced. Any government actions have been too slow and inadequate and only brought about by the campaign led by Pearse Doherty.
“Due to Pearse Doherty’s work it is very likely that insurance costs will come down next year. But, there is still much work to do.
“Sinn Féin’s crusade to tackle high insurance costs will continue in 2021!”