Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has welcomed the commencement of certain sections of his Consumer Insurance Contracts Act today – more than eight months after being signed into law by President Higgins.
But Deputy Doherty has criticised the Government and Minister for Finance for blocking crucial sections of the legislation until September 2021, and said that insurance reform cannot wait.
Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said: “Today the Government gives legal effect to sections of my Consumer Insurance Contracts Act – more than eight months after it was signed into law.
“This legislation shifted the balance of power away from insurers in favour of consumers. It was described as a game-changer by the Alliance for Insurance.
“Reform and has been supported by ISME and small businesses across the State.
“Among the provisions in force from today include the requirement for insurers to inform policyholders of any third-party claims made against their policies or that have been settled, and the right for policyholders to submit evidence where such claims have been made. This is a crucial win for small businesses.
“However, the most important provisions of this legislation will not be given effect until September 2021, with the government confirming it will block these reforms at the request of the insurance industry.
“These provisions include making it more difficult for insurers to refuse paying valid claims, and increasing transparency in how premiums are set at renewal by requiring insurers to provide the details of the past five years of premiums paid and claims paid out.
“Put simply, the Government have bowed to pressure from the insurance lobby, and will block these reforms nearly two years after they were signed into law.
“This is a huge blow to consumers and small businesses.
“While today’s commencement of sections of my Consumer Insurance Contracts Act are welcome, the Government should give effect to its most important provisions immediately.
“Insurance reform cannot wait.”