Donegal TD Pearse Doherty says the insurance industry in Ireland has been crushed by damning findings on price hikes and rule breaches.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission today published preliminary findings on alleged anti-competitive cooperation in top companies AIG, Allianz, AXA, Aviva, FBD, Brokers Ireland and AA.
Separately, Insurance Ireland has been charged with breaching competition rules by restricting competition in the motor insurance market.
“Today’s findings by the Competition Authority are a damning indictment of an insurance industry whose reputation lies in tatters,” said Deputy Doherty, who is Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Finance.
“The CCPC today announced that the main players in the Irish insurance market engaged in anti-competitive cooperation to hike prices between 2015 and 2016.
“These findings are not surprising. I have been raising these concerns for a number of years.
“Between 2015 and 2016, when this cartel-like behaviour was taking place, the average cost of a motor insurance premium rose by 21 percent.
“Year after year, insurance companies and Fine Gael politicians have blamed these price hikes on the cost of claims.”
Deputy Doherty has called on the Competition Authority to complete its work, with whatever necessary sanctions imposed on these insurance companies. He also called for crucial sections of his Consumer Insurance Contracts Act to be implemented immediately.
Meanwhile, the European Commission’s preliminary findings on investigations into Insurance Ireland, reveal concerns that the company broke competition rules by denying insurance companies and new entrants access to its claims data sharing platform.
Teachta Doherty has written to the Finance Committee, requesting that Insurance Ireland be invited before the Committee to answer questions on the findings of the Commission, which he labelled as “scandalous”.
“If this investigation ends by confirming the preliminary findings published today, the full weight of accountability should be brought to bear on Insurance Ireland,” he said.