The impact the “Insurance Rip-off” is having on individuals and business needs to be addressed

By: Deputy Kathleen Funchion

Sinn Fein TD for Kilkenny Carlow

There is little doubt that business and individuals are struggling with their insurance premiums, Sinn Féin has called on all parties to work together and support their legislation to cap the interest rates charged by moneylenders. The motor insurance industry here in Ireland have generated an average operating profit of ten per cent last year.
A recent separate publication by the Central Bank shows that the insurance industry and its pricing practices over the past number of years have gone unchecked and are having a devasting impact on businesses and individuals in Kilkenny and Carlow. This report also speaks to the failures of present and past governments, who have been quick to peddle the lines fed by the insurance industry.
And it clearly shows the price-gouging activities of the industry, with insurers recording profits of €142million in 2019.
The facts are clear. Since 2009, the cost of claims per insurance policy has fallen by nine per cent. Whilst at the same time, the average motor insurance premium has increased by a staggering 35 per cent. Whilst at the same time, since 2009 the total number of claims made has gone down by 45 per cent.
The National Claims Information Database has again confirmed what Sinn Féin have been saying for some time. Consumers cannot afford to wait for reform.
Premium costs for consumers in Kilkenny and Carlow have increased while the cost and frequency of claims for insurance companies has fallen. But this is not what we have been told by the insurance companies. There is a ‘compo culture’ myth which is consistently pedalled by the industry, it is nothing more than a cover story for its own price-gouging activities. The reality is that the industry are recording profits of ten per cent last year.
We cannot allow this to continue and we need to put an end to this practice. Last year, my colleague Deputy Doherty called on the Central Bank to investigate dual pricing by the industry, and he will be introducing legislation to ban it in the coming months.
Sinn Fein have repeatedly called this industry out, and yet it is allowed to continue to rip
At present, moneylenders are permitted to charge extortionate interest rates with APR of up to 187% trapping borrowers who are least able to pay into a cycle of unsustainable debt. Ireland is an outlier when it comes to the extortionate interest these lenders are able to charge. Interest rate caps are in place in 21 EU countries, including Germany, France and Italy.
Sinn Fein have introduced legislation that would mandate a statutory cap on the interest that moneylenders could charge. This legislation is a chance to tackle this issue once and for all, and cap the interest which moneylenders can charge, often against the most vulnerable in our society.
These are measures that will affect all types of business across Kilkenny and Carlow.

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