Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.03 17 Apr 2020


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Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has called on the insurance industry to "do the right thing" due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It comes amid calls for rebates for motor insurance customers, on the basis that vehicles are not being used as much during the current restrictions.

Minister Donohoe held a teleconference call on Friday with Insurance Ireland.

He emphasised his concerns regarding the response of insurers to the crisis, the need for them to "play their part" in the recovery phase while ensuring a sufficient focus on the cost and supply of insurance by insurers.

He also called on insurers to be "pro-active and generous" in relation to their treatment of motor insurance policyholders.

On this, he pointed out that a combination of "the very profitable part of this market over last 12 months when combined with what is likely to be a significant reduction in claims for this period" gave a strong case for "some type of refund of premium package."

He said this could provide some financial relief to customers in this extraordinary time.

Minister Donohoe said: "The main message that I wanted to convey to the insurance industry, through Insurance Ireland, is the need for the industry to help itself and do the right thing by customers during this time.

"I made it clear that failure to do so will be very damaging for the longer term reputation of the sector".

"In relation to the treatment of motor insurance policyholders, I pointed out that a combination of the very profitable part of this market over the last 12 months, when combined with what is likely to be a significant reduction in claims for this period, provides a strong case for some type of refund of consumers motor premium package.

Following the call, Insurance Ireland said it had "a constructive meeting" with the minister.

It added: "Insurance Ireland noted the minister’s comments, and while rebates of this nature are not occurring to date in the UK or Europe, Insurance Ireland committed to reflect on the minister’s concerns with their members as a matter of urgency."

Moyagh Murdock, CEO of Insurance Ireland, said: "The insurance sector fully appreciates that this is an incredibly difficult time for families and businesses as people seek to make the right decisions for their own health and safety and that of their families and employees."

"We have assured the minister that our members are committed to the forbearance measures announced over the past two weeks for personal and business general insurance customers, and we were also able to outline the rebates that the private health insurers announced yesterday for their customers.

"We listened to the minister’s views regarding the potential for motor insurance rebates and we have committed to examining this issue fully with our members and to respond constructively".

Main image: Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Picture by: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

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