Harney hits out at insurance companies

Tánaiste Mary Harney hit out at Ireland’s insurance companies today for failing to reduce their premiums quickly enough.

Tánaiste Mary Harney hit out at Ireland’s insurance companies today for failing to reduce their premiums quickly enough.

She said she planned to meet a number of firms in Europe and America to ensure they knew Ireland's industry was undergoing major reforms.

Ms Harney delivered her warning at the Insurance Institute of Ireland’s annual national conference in Co Wicklow.

She said: “Although I acknowledge that costs are reducing, that premiums are reducing, I have to say far too slowly as far as I’m concerned.

“I think competition, together with the reforms we have put in place, is what will drive down costs for the insured.”

She said she planned to go out and meet companies that might wish to enter the Irish market.

“I have set out a schedule of appointments over the next number of months where I intend to visit a number of key companies that I believe could have a useful role to play in the Irish market,” she said.

Ms Harney outlined a number of measures being undertaken to reform the industry.

These included the establishment of a Personal Injuries Board and the drafting of legislation to set it up on a statutory basis in a bid to eliminate fraud and lower the cost of dealing with claims.

She said the introduction of the penalty points system would also help reduce claims for accidents.

Ms Harney added: “I want to see a strong, vibrant and successful insurance industry in this country.

“I want to see an industry that is strong and profitable but I also want to see an industry that supplies insurance products to the market at an affordable price that is competitive relative to other European countries.

“The Government’s reform programme will make the Irish insurance market a better place in which to do business.”

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