Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath says motor insurance premium hikes are now out of control and is calling on the government to accelerate the work of the task force established in July in an effort to get to grips with the problem.

Deputy McGrath was commenting as it emerged Aviva has written to its customers setting out its analysis of why premiums are rising at the current rate.

Deputy McGrath commented, “The blame game is now in full swing. Aviva has written a detailed note to customers setting out its analysis as to why premiums are increasing at the current crazy rate. We now have a situation where all the stakeholders are blaming each other for premium hikes but it begs the question, who is looking after the interests of consumers in all of this?

“While premiums are up by 38.6% in the year to July according to official CSO data, it would not surprise me if this rate of increase is actually accelerating at the moment. Every week now, I am being contacted by motorists who are receiving a renewal notice in the letterbox with much larger increases. Premium increases of 60%, 70% and even higher are not uncommon. This is not a sustainable situation and the government needs to show greater urgency in tackling this problem.

“The insurance industry may well be right that a rise in the number of claims and increases in the level of awards are the main factors driving these price hikes, but the truth is we simply do not know because we have no independent oversight. Fianna Fáil put forward a detailed motion on this issue in the Dáil in July and provided a roadmap to tackle the problem. This motion resulted in the establishment of a task force to address the issue. The government now needs to go further and set a tight deadline for the task force to report and to commit to implementing its recommendations as a matter of urgency. Otherwise, motorists will continue to be fleeced while all those involved wage a PR battle to blame each other.”