BaileNuachtPreaseisúntaí an Rialtais

Statement on Government meeting with insurance industry


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described today’s meeting with representatives of the insurance industry as ‘constructive’ with both sides committed to working together over the coming weeks to find solutions. The meeting was attended by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister Simon Coveney, Minister Alan Kelly & Minister of State Simon Harris.
The Taoiseach made two key requests of the industry. Firstly, to reflect on the current level of insurance cover being provided in areas where flood protection works have taken place and, secondly, to examine their current approach to “demountable” (removable) flood defences as they relate to insurance cover. The industry agreed to respond to Government through the OPW by the end of next week on both of these issues.
Speaking afterwards, the Taoiseach said:
“I have seen at firsthand how the people who have been affected by the severe weather of recent times are absolutely traumatised and exhausted by the experience. They have shown incredible resilience and community spirit, and the voluntary effort around the country, as well as the work of local authorities, emergency services, the civil defence and many more has been outstanding.
“I’m glad to say today’s meeting was a constructive one, with all parties acknowledging the exceptional nature of recent events and the considerable distress for victims of flooding, and agreeing to work together to find the best ways to provide maximum insurance cover.”
The Tánaiste said:
“Today’s meeting was very productive and involved a frank and robust exchange of views. There is now a framework for a continuing engagement with the insurance industry in order to address the various issues and problem areas, and that in itself is very useful. We agreed to meet again within the next two weeks.
“It is an extremely difficult situation for households in the affected areas to have to pay excessive premiums, or to be offered no cover at all. This difficulty was made clear to the insurance industry representatives. We want to see these issues addressed, particularly in areas where flood defences are being installed, but where cover is still not being provided.”
This meeting was one element of a range of Government activity on the issues related to flooding, including:
· support for victims of flooding;
· improved forecasting capability;
· identification of areas most at risk (including on the river Shannon);
· unprecedented future investment by Government of €430m over the next six years;
· examination of the best defence options;
· availability of affordable insurance.
The challenges facing the insurance industry were also acknowledged at the meeting, including related to flooding and other weather events.
It was agreed that a clear information exchange between Government and the industry is essential, both in respect of existing situations, and regarding the Government’s future defence investment programme, and mechanisms to facilitate this dialogue were agreed.
Both sides committed to work together over the coming weeks to find solutions.