Dáil Éireann - Volume 383 - 19 October, 1988

Ceisteanna — Questions Oral Answers - PMPA Insurance Company.

60. Mr. Cullen asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if his attention has been drawn to the concern being expressed in the insurance industry, regarding the large-scale cutting of premiums by the PMPA in the motor insurance and motor bus insurance areas; if he is satisfied with the present financial position of the company; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Reynolds): As the Deputy will be aware, with the passing of the Courts Act, 1988 and the introduction of various other initiatives, the Government have created the environment for lower insurance premium rates. The insurance industry has started to respond to these initiatives and rates in general have become more competitive. I would expect that premium rates will reduce even further as the full impact of the Government's policy in this area takes effect.

As far as the financial position of PMPA is concerned, the latest published results show that the administrator is making good progress towards clearing the deficit of PMPA. The company is expected to show a further overall profit for the present financial year.

Mr. Cullen: That does not answer the question I asked. We all agree that we want to see insurance premiums going down. Surely the Minister is aware that in some instances premiums seem to be dropping at a rate of between 50 and 70 per cent and it seems to be possible to go to various insurance companies, to relate the latest quote from another insurance company and that quote can be bettered by other companies. Has the Minister or his Department looked into this as there is a grave danger to the financial stability in general of PMPA and the insurance [36] market and this type of practice could put us in a serious problem in the future.

Mr. Reynolds: The Department have no reason to question PMPA rates for motor car or bus insurance. While the rates may be competitive, they are not underpriced. The Deputy, like other Deputies in the House, would like to see competitive rates and not underpriced rates. The Irish Insurance Federation have made a number of complaints about the rates quoted by PMPA and about the extent of its advertising since it was placed under the new administrator. At the end of the day the responsibility for the administration of PMPA rests with the administrator and his rates are competitive but not underpriced.

An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 61.

Mr. Cullen: I have only asked one supplementary.

An Ceann Comhairle: Please resume your seat, Deputy Cullen.

Mr. Cullen: I have only asked one supplementary.

An Ceann Comhairle: I will not call the Deputy a third time to resume his seat.

Mr. Cullen: This is grossly unfair.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair has an obligation to dispose of five priority questions within the prescribed time and he intends to do so——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: ——with the cooperation of the Deputies in question.

Mr. Cullen: May I beg the indulgence of the Chair for one more supplementary question.

An Ceann Comhairle: I am calling Deputy Bruton's Question No. 61.

[37] Mr. Cullen: This is grossly unfair and well you know it. The Chair is not allowing a proper debate on this question which is a fundamental question.

An Ceann Comhairle: I have explained my position.

Mr. Cullen: I am not satisfied with your decision, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy is not satisfied with the ruling of the Chair he knows what to do.

Mr. Cullen: I shall look into the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: By all means do, and if you need any assistance from me to do it my office will be at your disposal.