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Samantha Ramen

Samantha Ramen

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What role will Select Committees play in developing insurance policy?

Client Alerts24/01/2020

With the chairs set to be elected next week, we look at how various committees could influence policy and legislation…

Before the General Election, the Keoghs market affairs team wrote about the backroom influencers in Parliament and discussed the important role that Select Committees have in respect of Government policy.

The chairs of these committees are being elected next week. Below we take a closer look at some of the committees that matter most to the insurance industry, and discuss what is going to be at the top of the in-tray of the new chairs.

 Justice Committee

As the name suggests, the Justice Committee scrutinises the work of the Ministry of Justice. However, its remit extends beyond this, looking at the work of individual ministers (including the Attorney General, Solicitor General and the Lord Chancellor), conducting pre-appointment hearings for high-ranking roles within the prisons system and bringing forward its own policy suggestions.

In the previous Parliament, the committee was chaired by Bob Neill MP, who has been a near-constant figure on the committee since 2007. It took a significant interest in matters of relevance to insurers, including:

  • An inquiry on the personal injury discount rate (which they concluded by suggesting a lump-sum payment would always either over or under-compensate a claimant, necessitating more evidence on actual investment behaviours)
  • A 2018 report calling for the delay (until 2020) of increases to the small claims track limit
  • A wide-ranging inquiry on the impact of Brexit on the justice system
  • A one-off hearing with the then-Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke MP looking at the post-implementation review of the LASPO Act

Moving forward, look out for the committee analysing the impact of the Civil Liability Act when it comes fully into force, and to continue to question key ministers on the progress made across their portfolio (including civil justice reform).

Transport Committee

The committee responsible for scrutinising all aspects of the Department for Transport, this committee became particularly relevant to motor insurers during the last Parliament when it launched an inquiry into road safety.

Following several committee members attending Keoghs event on young driver safety in January 2019, the committee published a call for evidence for their road safety inquiry in March 2019 (which Keoghs responded to with a series of policy suggestions). 

Later in the year we saw the launch of a more specific inquiry into young driver safety, and some new initiatives that the government could progress to improve casualty rates for young drivers on the UK’s roads.

Unfortunately, the General Election was called before the committee could make significant strides in either of these inquiries, but they’re set to be one to watch out for this year when the Committee reforms.

Treasury Committee

The Treasury Committee has an enormously wide remit covering all aspects of fiscal policy from the consumer to the government. One part of this is scrutiny of the insurance industry, looking at all the elements that are covered by the minister in charge at HM Treasury. These could include the pricing of insurance policies, the contribution of the industry to the UK economy, or the necessity to implement EU directives on insurance legislation into UK law.

In the last Parliament the committee rarely touched on issues of relevance to insurers, although it’s still a committee to watch out for in the future.

Keoghs parliamentary engagement

With such a variety of groupings and committees that can affect legislation in Westminster, the importance of engaging with the key figures in the committees cannot be understated. The Keoghs Market Affairs team has put together an ambitious parliamentary engagement plan for 2020 – watch this space!

Next week – we look at the results of the Select Committee elections, and profile the new chairs that will have a vital role in shaping the agenda of their respective committees.