Ireland finance minister calls for motor insurance refunds due to lockdown

By Ahmad Zaki

In another chapter of the ongoing clash between insurers, governments and consumers, Ireland’s minister for finance Paschal Donohoe has advised insurers to offer refunds to motorists as traffic has all but halted during the coronavirus crisis at a time when profits are high.

At a virtual meeting that took place last Thursday, he told the Insurance Ireland lobby group that the reputation of its members is at stake amid concerns that some are relying on fine print and technicalities to avoid business interruption pay-outs as much of the economy is in Covid-19 lockdown, reported the Irish Times.

“The main message that I wanted to convey to the insurance industry, through Insurance Ireland, is the need for the industry to help itself and do the right thing by customers during this time. I made it clear that failure to do so will be very damaging for the longer-term reputation of the sector,” said Mr Donohoe.

“In relation to the treatment of motor insurance policyholders, I pointed out that a combination of the very profitable part of this market over the past 12 months, when combined with what is likely to be a significant reduction in claims for this period, provides a strong case for some type of refund of consumers’ motor premium packages.”

Insurance Ireland said that while motor insurance rebates were not occurring to date in the UK or Europe, it “committed to reflect on the minister’s concerns with their members as a matter of urgency”.

“On the issue of business interruption insurance, insurers understand that this is a cause of concern in the marketplace. This is a complex issue. No insurance market in the world provides widespread insurance coverage for pandemics and Ireland is no exception,” Insurance Ireland said, adding that firms would “adjudicate each claim fairly and consistently in line with the policy terms and conditions”.

Asia Insurance Review

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