Insurance industry inertia unacceptable – time to treat customers fairly

26 March 2021

Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash TD has reiterated his call for the insurance industry to offer rebates to motor insurance customers. While some companies gave a small gesture to customers last year, there have been no moves to do the same this year. Traffic volumes remain low in 2021 as people stay within their 5km and with the industry making estimated savings of €300million due to the decrease risk, it’s time for the industry to put people over profit for once.

Deputy Nash said:

“As level 5 restrictions remain in place and with people staying within their 5km, I’m calling on the insurance industry to take an honest approach and offer some level of rebate to their customers. Traffic volumes have fallen by 37% since the start of the pandemic, meaning there are fewer cars on the road and the level at risk at play has dramatically reduced for the insurers.

“It’s estimated that close to €300m less in payouts will be made by Irish insurers because of the restrictions associated with the pandemic. To reflect the reality of the situation, the very least these insurers could do is give some level of rebate to loyal customers.

“Many in the industry offered small refunds to their customers in a show of solidarity last year. While these sums were small, they went a long way for working families who continue to face huge financial pressure as a result of the pandemic. The industry can well afford it – extracting total profits of €142 million in 2019. A year on and the situation has hardly changed. The insurance industry needs to step up and take an honest approach to rebates again in 2021.

“The inertia on this to date is a classic example of the insurance industry committing to doing the bare minimum. As the pandemic continues and fewer people are out on the roads, the insurance industry is scamming their customers, ordinary hard working people many of whom have seen cuts to their incomes while on State job supports.

“We’re talking about an industry that is cashing-in hand over fist by squeezing ordinary people. We know that if you’re a loyal customer, your reward is higher insurance fees. We know that this is an industry that has a culture of unfair practices where profit is king. The Minister needs to ramp up pressure on the industry and get a little fairness for people.

“Minister of State Seán Fleming is due to meet insurers in coming weeks. He must raise pressure on the industry to cut their customers a fair break and provide some level of rebate. The issue of extortionate fees in the insurance industry is well aired, and an appreciation of customers’ loyalty is one way insurers can play a constructive role in the ongoing public health crisis. It’s time for these companies to put people before their bottom line for once.”

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