“The Government must be prepared to provide a complete and comprehensive response, including legislation, to tomorrow’s expected Supreme Court ruling on the Setanta motor insurance case,” said the Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath.
“Over three years have passed since Setanta Insurance failed, and there are still 1,649 claims waiting to be settled at a potential cost of €95.2m.
“The elephant in the room is the fact that Setanta’s liquidator has indicated that he will not be in a position to meet more than 30% of these claims. This will leave a lot of claimants high and dry unless the Government comes forward with a comprehensive package of measures to deal with this issue, and to also deal with potential failures of other insurance companies.
“At the nub of this Supreme Court decision will be whether the outstanding Setanta claimants are to be compensated by the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland or the Insurance Compensation Fund.
“Without pre-judging the decision by the Supreme Court, it is crystal clear that a comprehensive Government response will be required whichever way the decision goes.
“For example, changes will be required if it’s directed that claimed should be paid out of the Insurance Compensation Fund as there is currently a cap of 65% on claims to the fund.
“The Government needs to act swiftly after tomorrow’s decision to bring in the changes that are required. There can be no lag time between the decision and the Government’s response.
“The simple fact is that 1,649 claimants have been left in limbo while this case was being decided. This can never be let happen again as entire lives have been put on hold.
“The wider issue is that there is nothing to stop this happening again if another insurance provider, regulated in other European jurisdiction but operating in Ireland, fails.
“Fianna Fáil has already identified 23 different insurance companies that are currently registered as “Freedom of Services” firms, which are regulated in other EU member states.
“Their customers need to be protected, and they should be made aware of the risks associated with using such companies.
“The Government must provide both a legislative and policy response that deals with this issue once and for all,” concluded McGrath.