“I am aware of the concerns raised by the Deputy and have considerable sympathy for them,” said Donohoe, referring to the affected car owners. However, he said neither him nor the Central Bank can interfere in the pricing and provision of insurance products, “as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept.”
In his written response published on the Houses of the Oireachtas website, the minister continued: “This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products.”
What that means is that he cannot direct insurers in that regard.
Brian Stanley TD had a similar parliamentary query a couple of months back, to which Donohoe replied with the same ‘cannot interfere’ assertion.
In the minister’s response to Stanley at the time, Donohoe also cited an explanation offered by Insurance Ireland when contacted by department officials.
“Calculation of premium has many rating factors, and age of vehicle is part of that process to determine the correct rate for the risk profile submission,” stated the representative body, as quoted by Donohoe in his written answer. “The issue of age of vehicle relates to the acceptances criteria and whether some insurance providers will offer a quotation.
“This would be a matter of commercial discretion by each insurance provider and it should be also noted, that an insurance company/underwriter is entitled to set the level of premium for any risk or risks it has agreed to accept. Furthermore, there is no obligation on a financial service provider to disclose or divulge to its customers its specific commercial rating details.”
Meanwhile a report by The Times today quoted an Insurance Ireland spokesperson as saying: “The Irish motor insurance market has experienced increased volatility and cost of claims in recent years and the effect of this has been for some insurers to moderate their risk appetite in respect of certain types of business.”
Article is care of www.insurancebusinessmag.co.uk
The original article can be found here.