Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the Fine Gael Government for having a poor understanding of the insurance crisis.
Deputy Doherty was speaking after engaging in RTÉ Radio 1’s Late Debate with Fine Gael Minister Michael D’Arcy on Wednesday.
Speaking today, Deputy Doherty said:
“Last night I engaged in a radio debate with a number of people including the Minister with responsibility for insurance policy, Michael D’Arcy.
“I was shocked to hear Minister D’Arcy continue to peddle the spin of the insurance industry, while quoting CSO figures that were definitively rebuked by the Central Bank in December of last year.
“The Fine Gael Minister reiterated that the average car insurance premium has reduced by 27%, quoting CSO figures that I have disputed for a number of years.
“Only last month, the definitive Central Bank report on the cost of claims and price of premiums in the motor insurance sector showed that since 2016, the average motor insurance premium has risen by 17% since 2016.
“I am amazed that the Minister has decided to again reply on the figures offered by the CSO rather than the Central Bank, when the Minister himself, in formal correspondence with me, admitted that the CSO figures are based on ‘quotes received directly from a sample of motor insurance companies for a selection of consumer profiles’. Nor does the CPI index account for demographic changes.
“In addition to this, the Minister continued to spin the lines of the insurance industry by claiming that rising insurance costs are solely the result of what he called ‘dodgy and spurious claims’.
“In fact, under questioning by myself in the Finance Committee before and after the summer of 2019, insurance companies admitted to reporting as little as 1 percent of claims to the Gardaí for fraud.
“The Central Bank report also showed that the frequency of claims has actually fallen by 40 percent in the past decade, while the average premium rose by 42 percent.
“That the Minister continues to repeat the same lines despite the findings of the Central Bank, is confirmation that this Fine Gael Government does not understand the insurance crisis and will not end the rip-off for consumers.
“Sinn Féin will tackle the industry and end the insurance rip-off. We would ban dual pricing by insurance companies, set up a Garda Insurance Fraud Unit and bring down prices for consumers who are seeing costs soar.”