Welcome from CEO
A Message from Kevin Thompson, CEO, Insurance Ireland
CEO’s Review of 2017
2017 was a year of strong progress on many fronts for Insurance Ireland and the industry we represent. From a record number of events, a successful merger and our enhanced capabilities to policy development with the planned introduction of a universal pension scheme, ongoing engagement on the cost of insurance claims and of course our own Year of Inclusion initiative, 2017 was a year of achievement.
It was also a year of continuing uncertainty regarding the Brexit process. This was a theme taken up by President Frank Mee and keynote speaker Cliff Taylor of The Irish Times at the Annual Lunch in April. Across our councils, the theme was continued as members were keen to understand the full effects of Brexit in areas such as servicing contracts, data sharing and regulatory compliance. Our participation in the Insurance Europe Brexit Project Group was a key element of this work to inform the industry’s response.
Brexit does present opportunities for the sector and getting the right regulatory and policy environment is key to realising these benefits and our public positioning reflected the importance of the issue. 2017 was also a very busy year on the regulatory front with our reinsurance and international members having to consider the Review of the Minimum Competency Code, the Solvency II review, Changes in the Permanent Establishment Rules under BEPS and Freedom of Services.
For our health members, 2017 saw significant progress on bringing health cost of claims issues to the fore with the Public Bed Re-Designation Charge campaign to inform customers of their rights. This was followed by significant engagement on the issue of the changes to the Lifetime Community Rating legislation. Both engagements showed the value of coordinated industry action and provided a template for further activity.
Another issue of the utmost importance to the industry is the cost of regulation and this has come to the fore with the Central Bank of Ireland Levy. We welcome the CBI’s collaborative and constructive approach to this and look forward to forward consultation on it.
Our life members experienced another significant year with policy developments on the issue of universal pensions, to build on the excellent work undertaken in 2016 in launching A Universal Pension for Ireland. There was also council activity on the issues of the Life Levy and Exit Tax which will again require the Council’s focus in 2018.
Possibly the most significant single event from both the consumer and industry point of view in the non-life area was the Supreme Court ruling on the Setanta case. It was our firm view throughout that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) was never designed to address the liabilities of an insolvent insurer and we welcomed the Courts decision in May.
We also continued our work in relation to seeking reforms to the issue of the cost of claims. This work bore fruit in 2017 with the publication of new draft legislation for Personal Injuries Assessment Board and the establishment of the Personal Injuries Commission to benchmark our awards internationally. Insurance Ireland does not believe the PIAB legislation currently proposed will address the current deficiencies in the process and we will continue to work with government and other stakeholders to address this situation.
In this context, our fifth Annual Fraud Conference, and its 400 attendees, is also worthy of note for the opportunity it provides to consider industry and policy solutions to the challenge of fraud. This has now become a must attend event on the insurance calendar and the conference is now a key forum for the conversation on how best to address fraud across all classes of insurance.
The insurance sector again proved its importance in its swift and sensitive response to the severe weather events which affected many individuals and businesses. Effective responses to events such as this are why customers seek insurance cover and the industry can take great heart from how it responded.
Another key event during 2017 was the European Insurance Forum and 2018’s forum will be the flagship event of the Insurance Ireland annual calendar and will incorporate the Annual President’s Conference along with an inaugural President’s Gala Dinner.
Looking ahead, one of the key challenges facing members in the immediate future will be the GDPR and its far-reaching changes to data protection law and regulations. There will be further developments in terms of the ESA’s review in Europe and the Solvency II review outcomes.
As CEO, I am also keenly aware of the need to continuously future proof our sector and in this regard, we have led the way in developing an InsurTech ecosystem as well as the appropriate regulatory environment. Ensuring our industry remains an attractive one for staff was a key motivation behind the Year of Inclusion initiative and this work will continue in 2018 and beyond.
Finally, Brexit has brought into sharp focus our need to strengthen our alliances and grow our presence in Europe. Therefore, we are opening a Brussels office and hiring a permanent representative there to ensure our member have an active say in policy and regulation at the earliest stages. With these and other developments, our ability to advocate on behalf of our members and their customers has never been greater and we will continue to bring our collective strength to bear on their behalf in the years ahead.
Further details on these and other areas are detailed in our 2017 Annual Report which can be accessed here: https://www.insuranceireland.eu/news-and-publications/publications/insurance-ireland-annual-report-2017