Non-Irish-based motor insurers told to disclose status

Central Bank says insurers must inform consumers if they are not incorporated here

Insurers authorised in other EU states who are selling motor policies here have been told by the Central Bank that they must make it clear to Irish consumers that they are not incorporated in the Republic.

This move is designed to avoid a repeat of the chaos that followed the collapse of Malta-regulated Setanta Insurance in 2014 and Gibraltar's Enterprise Insurance last year.

The closure of these two firms left almost 90,000 policyholders without insurance and up to €100 million in unsettled claims.

The Irish regulator sent a letter last week to firms authorised in other EU member states but selling motor policies into this market, and the various brokers and agents who act on their behalf.



In a statement issued to

The Irish Times

, the Central Bank said: “The Central Bank has written to insurance firms that are operating in the private motor insurance market in Ireland on a freedom of services basis (where a firm is authorised in another EU member state), and their appointed agents, to ensure that the name of the insurance company and its country of incorporation are disclosed on all policy documentation, in a way that would not confuse the consumer.

‘Fully informed’

“It is important that consumers check this information before taking out insurance so that they are fully informed of who they are dealing with and can satisfy themselves on the insurer who is underwriting their policy, particularly where the policy is bought from a broker.”

Kevin Thompson, chief executive of Insurance Ireland, a representative group for the industry, welcomed the move. "We would support any initiative that better informs the decision-making of consumers about the purchase of their motor insurance policies," he said.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times