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Insurance and competition bills pass all stages
Pic: RollingNews.ie

24 Jun 2022 / legislation Print

Insurance and competition bills pass all stages

Bills on insurance and competition have passed all stages in the Oireachtas this week, and will now go to the President for signature.

The Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022 is aimed at improving transparency in some areas of the insurance market.

The Competition (Amendment) Bill 2022 will give more powers to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).

Deductions data

During the pandemic, a number of insurers deducted COVID-related supports paid to businesses from final claims settlements linked to business-interruption insurance.

The insurance bill will require the Central Bank to collect data through the National Claims Information Database (NCID) on any deductions from claim settlements linked to such supports.

Insurers will also have to disclose to consumers – under the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 – any deductions of public money from insurance settlements.

The Minister of State responsible for insurance Seán Fleming said that the new measures would put the Government “in a better place” to consider any future policy intervention to protect taxpayers’ money.

Bigger fines

The new bill will also require to Central Bank to update the Minister for Finance on the effectiveness of its ban on ‘price-walking’ – a practice that results in customers who stay with the same insurance provider for a number of years paying more for their premiums.

This ban takes effect next month.

Under the new competition bills, breaches of competition law can be enforced through actions taken by competition authorities, with maximum fines of up to €10 million, or 10% of total worldwide turnover, whichever is greater.

“By strengthening the powers of our competition authorities, we are taking an important step to ensure that Ireland’s economy is open, fair, and transparent,” said Robert Troy (Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation).

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