Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD has said the key Insurance Link database should be run by the State and not by the industry representative body – Insurance Ireland.

Last month, the European Commission announced it has opened a formal antitrust investigation into Insurance Ireland to assess whether the conditions of access to its Insurance Link data pooling system may restrict competition in the Irish motor insurance market, in breach of EU rules.

Deputy McGrath said, “The Insurance Link database is operated by a private company on behalf of Insurance Ireland. It contains sensitive and valuable market information and the European Commission is now investigating whether the conditions of access in any way restrict competition in the Irish motor insurance market.

“The difficulty is we could be waiting years for the European Commission investigation to be completed. Meanwhile, this vital database will continue to be controlled by the insurance industry. I do not believe this is appropriate and I think it is time that this information was removed from the industry’s control.

“The Cost of Insurance Working Group recommended a similar Claim by Claim database to help track instances of fraud but inexplicably the government shelved the idea. It has also delayed on the establishment of the National Claims Information Database which was due to be completed last summer. There has been no sight of the dedicated Insurance Fraud Database which was due last year.

“The insurance crisis shows no sign of abating. I very much doubt that the insurance industry will continue to control crucial market data such as this following the completion of the European Commission investigation. It is in the public interest that this information is owned and controlled by a body that does not have a direct vested interest in it. The Minister for Finance should take the necessary steps to put this into effect now.”