Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has welcomed the signing of Sinn Féin’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill into law by Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D. Higgins.
The Sinn Féin TD said the legislation will reform insurance contracts, increase transparency and shift the balance in favour of the consumer. A number of journalists have also described Sinn Féin’s legislation as ‘the most radical change in insurance law in centuries’, while the Alliance for Insurance Reform described it as a ‘game-changer’.
Deputy Crowe said:
“Rip-off insurance costs are squeezing incomes and closing down businesses. People are seeing their premiums rocketing up year on year and the majority of cases are without anyone making a claim or changing the risk factor on their policy.
“The insurance market isn’t working for policy holders and too little has been done to hold the industry to account and reduce costs.
“Rocketing insurance costs have become a full-blown crisis across several sectors in Dublin South West. I have been contacted by the Naíonra in Scoil Chaitlín Maude, Killinarden Community Centre, and the Fettercairn Youth Horse Project who are all struggling to keep their doors open after extortionate increases in their insurance premiums.
“Our Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill will shift the balance in favour of policyholders, by increasing transparency and strengthening the hand of the policyholder during their insurance contract. It is the only legislation that has been passed since 2016 that focuses on policyholders, increasing their protections.
“It would require companies to inform consumers of the past 5 years of premiums paid by customers, and claims paid to customers and third parties for all non-life insurance contracts.
“From now on, where there is uncertainty in any document or contract, the rule of law and interpretation in favour of the consumer will prevail. From now on, it will be up to the insurer to ask the relevant questions when a consumer or business takes out a policy, reversing the current status quo which places the burden and responsibility on the consumer to volunteer information.
“Companies will no longer be able to easily settle third party claims without the policyholders knowledge. They will have to inform customers of any claim made against their policy, allowing them to submit their own evidence and informing them of the cost of any claim against their policy that has been settled.
“It would also ensure that policyholders would be told of any third party claims made against their policy, fraudulent or otherwise, and have a right to submit evidence concerning the claim.
“The new legislation would also make it harder for an insurer to wriggle out of paying valid claims on grounds that have nothing to do with the accident or loss incurred by the policyholder.
“Sinn Féin are in the business of protecting people, not the profits of the insurance industry. While Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have peddled the spin of the industry for years, Sinn Féin has repeatedly called out the industry for ripping off customers, exaggerating the level of claims, and waging a public disinformation campaign.
“In this legislation Sinn Féin has delivered solutions for workers and their families
“This ground breaking legislation is timely and is a big win for policyholders. It will have a huge impact on the industry.”