Cost of insuring property set to increase

 

The insurance industry is signalling continued high premiums and even increases in areas such as liability and property insurance in 2003, despite the widescale reforms aimed at slashing insurance costs.

Mr Martin Long, a spokesman for the Irish Insurance Federation, said insurance lines such as motor, and public and employers' liability, continue to be loss-making for the industry.

He called on the Government to tackle urgentlly issues such as the high legal costs associated with claims and to implement immediately three more of the 62 penalty points against motorist to reduce claims.

The annual insurance industry report for 2001, which was issued yesterday, showed a substantial fall in the underwriting losses incurred for motor insurance but a marked increase in liability and property losses.

The losses on motor insurance fell to €186 million in 2001 compared with €323 million the previous year. Public and employers liability insurance losses rose to €165 million from €133 million, while losses related to fire and property insurance increased from €25 million to €67 million.

The IIF welcomed the reduction in motor underwriting losses but stressed that this and other lines of insurance are still not generating a profit and will have to be sustained by high premiums.

In 2001 the industry recorded total motor insurance claims of €1.4 billion. The IIF has claimed that 40 per cent of the money paid in these claims is for legal costs.

This rises to 56 per cent in cases where there are claims made on public and employers liability policies.