Dáil to consider reform of consumer insurance contracts law

Dáil to consider reform of consumer insurance contracts law

A private member’s bill to reform Ireland’s “archaic” laws on consumer insurance contracts has been laid before TDs.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty (pictured) said his Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill 2017 represents “a major modernisation of insurance contract law in Ireland”, based on a 2015 report by the Law Reform Commission.

He said: “Much of our insurance contract law is archaic and not fit for the modern world. It was drafted at a time when insurance was based largely on the needs and demands of the shipping industry.

“Much has changed, not least the relative power of the multinational insurance company and of the customer. In this day and age the insurance consumer is at a huge disadvantage when faced with the Iawyered up, technically savvy insurer.”

The bill’s provisions include abolishing the concept of insurable interest and putting a legal obligation on insurers to provide consumers with plainly written documents containing the essential terms of the contract.

Mr Doherty added: “The Bill is detailed and complex but at its core is a simple function: to empower consumers so that no longer will farmers, pub owners, residents and other consumers be denied what morally should be theirs because of outdated technicalities that can be exploited by insurers.

“Laws in force at the time of the American War of Independence - insurance laws based on the days of merchants trading across oceans rather than the modern needs of society - must be updated. The consumer alone loses when laws become archaic.

“The consumer, the victim, must get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to arguing the technicalities of insurance claims.”

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