February 17, 2021
Central Bank must step up enforcement against insurers over Business Interruption and communicate findings to businesses – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has welcomed today’s update by the Central Bank regarding Covid-19 Business Interruption insurance. 

In a reply to a letter sent by Deputy Doherty on 4th February, the Central Bank has today confirmed that it had undertaken analysis of more than 250 different types of insurance policy across more than 30 insurers to determine whether businesses are covered for business interruption as a result of Covid-19. 

Deputy Doherty has called on the Central Bank to communicate its findings to policyholders immediately while stepping up enforcement against insurers. 

Teachta Doherty said:

“Strong regulatory supervision and enforcement by the Central Bank is the only approach that will prevent small businesses being forced to seek redress in the courts over certain insurance providers refusal to pay out valid claims as a result of business interruption due to Covid-19.

“Today’s announcement will come as a relief to struggling small businesses.

“During the course of the past year I have been engaging with the Central Bank for such a process to be put in place.

“I welcome today’s correspondence from the Central Bank confirming that such work has been carried out; including analysis of more than 250 different policy types across more than 30 insurers.

“While we are aware that some insurers have re-engaged with some of their customers and are making settlements, others are not.

“I am calling on the Central Bank to use all of the extensive powers at its disposal to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.

“However, while this is ongoing, many businesses remain in the dark, not knowing if their policies provide any cover for Covid-19 Business Interruption, or the view of the Central Bank in relation to their policies.

“After nearly a year of uncertainty these businesses deserve to know where they stand.

“How many policies does the Central Bank believe are covered? Covering how many businesses with which insurers? Businesses need these answers.

“In Britain, the regulator took a different approach, taking a test case for 21 different policy types, bringing clarity to thousands of policyholders.

“While I believe that was the approach that should have been taken here, the Central Bank settled on a different approach. 

“This must be brought to a speedy conclusion for consumers.

“I will be requesting the Oireachtas Finance Committee to invite the Central Bank before the Committee to discuss this examination further.”

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