Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has made a formal submission to both the Central Bank and Competition and Consumer Protection Commission requesting that they investigate and ban dual pricing in the Irish insurance market.
Deputy Doherty welcomed the Central Bank’s announcement that they would look into the issue, after he wrote to the Governor of the Central Bank requesting a market investigation on September 25th.
The Donegal TD said:
“On the 25th of September I wrote to both the Chairperson of the CCPC and the Governor of the Central Bank requesting an immediate investigation into the practice of dual pricing, or price discrimination, by the insurance industry. I also got the agreement of the Finance Committee to investigate this practice.
“Insurance companies in the Irish market are using dual pricing to target customers who are more likely to renew and less likely to switch or shop around, and then charge them with higher prices. This is known as the loyalty penalty.
“Not only is this done without the knowledge of consumers, but it is known to target low-income and vulnerable groups, with some being charged premiums more than 100% higher than the average price for the same risk profile.
“A recent study by the Financial Conduct Authority in Britain found that price discrimination resulted in 6 million policyholders being overcharged a combined £1.2 billion in 2018 alone. They are now considering regulatory intervention that would ban the practice.
“In the United States, dual pricing has been made illegal in as many as 17 states, including California and Florida.
“Irish consumers deserve the same protections as anyone else. But Irish regulators have done nothing to confront this practice.
“The Central Bank’s announcement that they will carry out a ‘study’ into this issue does not go far enough. It is simply not good enough.
“My submission to both the Central Bank and the CCPC calls for a formal investigation into the price discrimination, who it effects, how much it costs consumers, whether it impacts vulnerable groups, and regulatory measures that can be introduced to ban its practice.
“Irish consumers deserve nothing less.”