Longford/Westmeath Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Deputy Robert Troy, has said the Central Bank needs a stronger consumer protection role to ensure insurance companies honour policies with disruption cover for infectious diseases.
His calls come as it is reported some insurance companies are not following the consumer protection code set down by the State’s regulator. A number of policy holders are taking claims against an insurance company for failure to pay out on infectious disease coverage as a result.
“It is vital that the new Government review the consumer protection code of the Central Bank and ensure it is sufficiently robust to protect those small businesses that have taken out interruption coverage in their polices.
“In Ireland, a test case which is to be taken by policy holders themselves regarding non-fulfilment of business interruption coverage, will not be taken until later this year and can last up to 14 days. Policy holders are being left to their own devices despite numerous calls by myself and others for the Minister to step in. Between now and when the test case is taken in October how many businesses will go under in that time?
“In contrast, over in the UK the Financial Conduct Authority, on behalf of policy holders, has already instigated a test case concerning 19 sample policy wordings against eight insurers. It’s envisaged this case will be heard in July and will only take between five and ten days.
“Irish businesses should not have to wait until October. It’s clear some companies are attempting to abdicate their responsibilities whereas others are saying that paying out on these claims will cripple their industry.
“The fact of the matter is there are approximately 35,000 policies with business interruption cover for infectious disease across the country in total. That is a drop in the ocean with some insurers having 500,000 plus policy holders on their books,” Deputy Troy asserted.