As the newly elected President of Brokers Ireland, Irish Broker speaks with Liam Carberry on his vision, challenges and aspirations for the coming year.
CONGRATULATIONS Liam on your newly elected role. What lies ahead over the coming year?
I am honoured to be elected as President of Brokers Ireland and I would like to thank the members for granting me the opportunity of this prestigious position.
I plan to serve all Broker interests in the next twelve months to ensure we continue to focus on the issues that are relevant to our members and deliver outcomes that have a positive impact on Brokers’ businesses.
The role of Insurance and Financial Brokers is constantly evolving, and we must always adapt to meet new challenges as they arise. As we face uncertain global economic times with rising inflation, hikes in interest rates, climate change challenges, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, we are starting to experience the negative impact that this is having on financial markets and consumer confidence.
In such times, now more than ever our clients need us to “steady the ship” and give professional guidance across their insurance and financial portfolios. Meeting and being there for our clients will continue to mark us apart from banks and other providers and will grow our position of strength in the market. Brokers hold over 50% of personal lines insurance, almost 100% of commercial lines, and 75% of the life, investment, and pensions market.
Against all odds, mortgage Broking has increased to 40% of that market and these statistics underscore the importance of the Brokers distribution role in the retail intermediary market.
What are the main strategic challenges for the Board of Brokers Ireland?
We have a busy and challenging agenda over the coming year, and I will be vigorous in pursuing our key agenda items to ensure that the Broker’s voice is heard and fully represented.
There are issues of fundamental importance to Brokers that demand our immediate attention. These include:
The Board of Brokers Ireland is acutely aware of these and other challenges that Brokers face and we are determined to tackle this head-on with all relevant government and industry stakeholders.
How is Brokers Ireland currently addressing the critical issue of IORP ll and the withdrawal of Executive Pension products from the Irish market?
Due to new requirements that IORP II imposed on onemember arrangements (or OMAs) from July this year, all life offices stopped writing new executive pension plans (EPPs).
This has left thousands of small business owners without the ability to fund a pension which is a fraction of the value of the pensions held by the civil servants making these rules. It is estimated that 12,000 people per year are impacted by the withdrawal of OMAs from the market.
Brokers Ireland is proposing two alternative options to bring back OMAs to the market:
- Allow OMA master trusts – this could be a relatively quick solution. Brokers Ireland have met with the Pensions Authority and asked that a swift decision be made around exit penalties to allow for the same charging structure as existed in EPPs.
- PRSA reform – a better and longer-term solution for OMAs is PRSA reform. We have met with the Department of Finance and the Department of Social Protection to request several changes to both the Pensions Act and the Taxes Consolidation Act through this year’s Finance Bill and Social Welfare Bill. Again, our proposed amendments include provision for exit penalties and pricing flexibility to ensure the same availability of commission and charges exist in any OMA product of the future.
This issue is a No. 1 priority focus for Brokers Ireland, and we are very aware of the impact that it is having on members and their clients. Brokers Ireland has signposted what needs to be done and we will continue to follow this issue carefully to achieve the positive results we seek for Brokers and their clients.
Meeting and being there for our clients will continue to mark us apart from banks and other providers and will grow our position of strength in the market. Brokers hold over 50% of personal lines insurance, almost 100% of commercial lines, and 75% of the life, investment, and pensions market.