Fianna Fáil is tabling a motion during Dáil private members time this evening to demand urgent action to rein in soaring motor insurance costs. Consumers have seen a 60% increase in the cost of their motor insurance since January 2014 and 34% hike in the past year alone.
Commercial users have experienced similar rises. Motor insurance is now the fastest rising item in the CSO basket of goods, with insurers warning of further increases to come.
Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said, “Motorists are required to have a minimum of third party insurance cover, so the cost of motor insurance is a major issue for family finances. Increases of €200 – €300 are now typical for customers renewing their policy. Motorists are absolutely reeling from these dramatic price increases.
“Up to 2013 we were in a period of falling motor insurance premiums. However the benefits that were achieved from concerted action to reduce costs are now evaporating. In our view there is an obligation on the state to respond to these soaring premiums.
“The Department of Finance led review of the sector that’s currently under way is insufficient. Fianna Fáil believes there is a need to re-establish the Motor Insurance Advisory Board to examine all relevant issues that affect insurance premiums. A previous examination by the board in the 1990’s found that the Irish insurance sector had excessive profitability levels when compared to the UK.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Niall Collins commented, “We need more details about the workings of the insurance sector. In the absence of this information customers are asked to take the word of the industry that justifies these price hikes.
“We’re calling for the establishment of a motor insurance database which would collect information from insurers about account premiums and claims settlements. This would lead to increased transparency within the industry and would improve policy formulation without breaching commercial confidentiality.
“Action is also needed in relation to false claims which are driving up costs across the board. It’s essential that a culture is developed where people know that those who make false or misleading claims will be prosecuted and face a real risk of jail time. This may require an amendment to the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 to underline the seriousness with which the State regards false and exaggerated personal injury claims.
Transport spokesperson Robert Troy said, “Enormous progress was made in the area of road safety in the early 2000’s including the introduction of penalty points, random breath testing, rigorous enforcement activity by An Garda Síochána and effective Road Safety Authority awareness campaigns. This led to a dramatic increase in road safety and helped drive down insurance costs.
“It’s imperative that An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority are adequately resourced to allow them to continue to enforce the rules of the road and promote road safety. To achieve this we need to increase the strength of the Traffic Corps and equip the force with the necessary tools to detect and prosecute reckless drivers,” concluded Deputy Troy.
Fianna Fáil’s ‘Action plan to tackle rising motor insurance premiums‘ can be accessed here.