24 January 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD has expressed serious concern over reports that insurance companies underpaid customers in the aftermath of storms Emma and Ophelia and has called on Minister of State Michael D’Arcy to publish the report immediately.
Deputy McGrath commented, “According to a report in today’s Irish Independent, insurance companies used ‘cash payments’ and ‘retention payments’ when paying compensation to policyholders arising from damage done by extreme weather events. This has allegedly led to customers being underpaid compensation that they were entitled to under their insurance contract.
“I note that the Minister has commented on the report but hasn’t published it. The Minister should publish this report immediately so that policyholders can see exactly what has happened and to allow all TDs to see what steps need to be taken to tackle this issue.
“At this point, we do not know how many customers have been underpaid and whether they will receive their full compensation. It is reported that Storms Emma and Ophelia cost insurers over €80 million yet we do not know how much of this has been withheld. We are talking about damage to people’s homes, farms and businesses.
“Minister D’Arcy has indicated that legislation is ready to prohibit such practices yet it appears no legislation appears on the list of priority Bills from the government. Serious questions need to be asked if insurance companies are not paying compensation to customers in full and in a timely manner. We are living in a time where extreme weather events are becoming more regular and we need to ensure customers are treated fairly by insurance companies”, concluded McGrath.