Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD has said Irish motorists deserve to know whether two separate investigations have discovered any evidence of anti-competitive practices in the motor insurance market.

Deputy McGrath was speaking having received replies from the Chair of the CCPC and from European Commissioner Vestager in relation to the two probes.

“The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) have been investigating suspected breaches of competition law in the motor insurance sector since September 2016. While I welcome the fact that the probe is now ‘in its latter stages’, I think it is reasonable two and a half years on for consumers to expect a meaningful update”, said Deputy McGrath.

“I note that the CCPC have held 55 witness summons hearings and obtained over 1.4 million emails and documents from parties under investigation. At the core of this investigation is alleged ‘price signalling’ by insurance companies. Price signalling can result in a degree of coordination by companies on pricing and this is ultimately at the expense of consumers.

“In July 2017, officers from the European Competition Directorate and the CCPC carried out raids at the offices of certain motor insurance providers, brokers and the industry representative body to gather evidence on possible anti-competitive practices. It is disappointing that Commissioner Vestager is not in a position to give any update as to the timeline for this investigation.

“The matters being investigated are extremely serious and are directly relevant to consumers. At a time when so many people are finding it incredibly difficult to get a reasonable motor insurance quote and when so many businesses are struggling with rising insurance costs, it is vital we find out whether any anti-competitive practices are prevalent in this industry.”