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Insurance Companies

Volume 884: debated on Monday 13 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the way in which his Department is discharging its statutory obligations regarding insurance companies.

Yes, Sir, although we shall all be happier when more of the detailed regulations provided for under the 1974 Act have been made and are fully effective. As regards particular companies, I cannot, for reasons of confidence, mention names, but the Department has been instrumental in protecting many thousands of policy holders in the unprecedented circumstances of the last year.

In view of the regulations under the 1974 Act, which are being published by the right hon. Gentleman's Department to prevent any further failures of insurance companies, does he not agree that it might be sensible to see how the existing regulations take effect before launching new legislation to establish a statutory fund, which could well put up the premiums of those who have made a prudent investment in their insurance?

I should certainly like a longer period to operate in full the powers provided by this House in the 1974 Act. My own assessment of the situation is that we now need an additional resource not provided by that Act and that we should bring it into play as soon as we can.

Will my right hon. Friend give special consideration to the sad plight of the many thousands of unfortunate policy holders who insured with the Nation Life Insurance Company Limited of Teddington, Middlesex, about which I have recently written to him?

Yes, I am well aware of the difficulties and worries that the policy holders of Nation Life are experiencing. We are, within the complex law affecting insurance and liquidations, doing our best to get as speedy an answer as we can for them.