Complaints about high motor insurance costs brought under Equal Status Act


Several complaints are under investigation by the Office of the Director of Equality Investigations in relation to the alleged overcharging of young drivers for motor insurance, it has been confirmed.

The complaints have been lodged under the Equal Status Act 2000, which outlaws discrimination in the provision of services on nine grounds, including age.

The office's head of equal status, Ms Éimear Fisher, said the outcome of the investigations should not be expected for some time as the cases, which are heard in private, had not yet been completed. However, a decision has issued this week on the first complaint made by a young driver who alleged he was biased against by an insurance company on age grounds.

Mr David Green (21) from Clonsilla, Dublin, claimed he was, because of his age, charged excessively for his motor insurance by Quinn-direct Insurance Limited. His case failed. The office of the Director of Equality Investigations ruled that the allegation complained of pre-dated the legislation under which it was taken and that the office therefore had no jurisdication to hear the case.

Mr Green entered into a motor insurance contract with Quinn-direct in July 2000 and the Act did not come into operation until October 2000.

Mr Green, who is considering standing as an independent candidate in the next election, said he was disappointed at the outcome but would not give up in his fight for cheaper motor insurance for young drivers.

He has a full driving licence but is paying an annual premium of over £3,000.

He was represented at the hearing of his case by Mr Michael Murphy of the Motor Insurance Justice Action Group (MIJAG).

Mr Murphy said Mr Green's case had failed on a technicality, but it would not deter his organisation from lodging other complaints with the office of the Director of Equality Investigations. "We are quite confident that the legislation will come down in our favour next time."