A new report by PwC, commissioned by Insurance Ireland, forecasts the creation of an additional 3,000 jobs in the sector over the next five years.

The report entitled ‘Creating the Future for Insurance in Ireland’ also highlighted the opportunity to invest €1 billion in Irish infrastructure projects.

Healthcare and pensions are key areas of focus for the insurance sector the report details, adding significant improvements in coverage can be made in these areas.

Utilising the right initiatives, the report believes the size of the annual pensions gap in Ireland can be reduced by 30%.

Regarding healthcare, the report says that premium increases to private health insurance pose a real affordability threat, with 200,000 consumers leaving the market.

PwC document the need for a sustainable business model to reduce the burden on state, and believe effective health insurance reform could bring an increase of 10% in numbers covered. 

This would bring the total to 2.2 million over the next five years.

The Irish insurance sector contributes over 4% of total net tax receipts, the report reveals. The total tax payments are estimated at €1.6 billion.

Furthermore, the report estimates that 27,000 people are already employed in the insurance sector in Ireland, 14,000 directly by insurance companies, and the remainder by companies directly related to the industry such as financial advisors and consultants.

Commenting on the report, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the report "takes a comprehensive look at where the Irish insurance industry is at and clearly documents the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead."

"The report comes at the right time, and fits in with the Government’s Medium Term Economic Strategy for the period 2014-2020 launched last December where we set out our ambition of developing a more diversified, competitive and responsive financial infrastructure that can finance growth across the economy," Minister Noonan added.

Ireland can be developed as a global centre for insurance innovation by collaborating with the IT sector, the report states.

It also advocates the delivery of a new charter for Irish consumers, which could focus on the reform of pensions and private health insurance regimes.

The chief executive of Insurance Ireland, Kevin Thompson, said the industry's goal now is to take its contribution on to another level.

"The vision of the sector as set out in the PwC report clearly demonstrates our ambition and our commitment," he added.