Group calls for review into spiralling insurance costs

Cost of Insurance Working Group sets out recommendations for Minister for Finance

The cost of motor insurance has risen by 66 per cent since January 2011, and by 25 per cent in the 12 months to September 2016. Photograph: Helder Almeida

The cost of motor insurance has risen by 66 per cent since January 2011, and by 25 per cent in the 12 months to September 2016. Photograph: Helder Almeida

 

The causes and frequency of motor insurance compensation claims should be examined in depth as part of a review into the spiralling cost of policies, according to a Government working group.

It is one of 41 bullet-point suggestions, made under nine headings of what are described as “emerging recommendations” by the Cost of Insurance Working Group.

They were given recently to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan by Eoghan Murphy, Minister of State with special responsibility for financial services.

Another recommendation is that insurance companies would require policyholders to produce an NCT certificate if their vehicle is of an age requiring one. This would be similar to the way in which vehicle testing centres require drivers to produce proof of insurance when having their vehicle checked.

The recommendations were published yesterday by Mr Murphy on his website eoghanmurphy.ie together with his covering letter to Mr Noonan.

Increasing costs

Mr Murphy notes in his letter that the working group, which he chairs and which includes representatives of all the relevant Government departments and offices involved with the process, is seeking to “identify immediate and longer-term measures which can address increasing costs, while bearing in mind the need to maintain a stable insurance sector”.

The group, which started work last June and has met eight times, intends to further examine the issues identified in the emerging recommendations report, with a view to submitting a final report to Mr Noonan next month.

Among the measures under consideration is the setting up of a national claims register to collate personal injury and property damage claims and record how they were resolved.

Compensation awards

A proposed personal injuries commission would examine amounts awarded in Ireland compared to other countries. The insurance industry asserts that Irish compensation awards are consistently above those in comparable jurisdictions.

It is also suggested that the impact of legal fees be examined and a “fully functioning insurance database” should exist to allow gardaí to check compliance, using automatic number plate recognition technology.

The cost of motor insurance has risen by 66 per cent since January 2011, and by 25 per cent in the 12 months to September 2016.

The industry blames rising costs, including what it sees as excessive awards by the courts in personal injury compensation claims, some of which it regards as fraudulent.