Uninsured accident claims up by 10 per cent in the last two years

Rising insurance premiums may be behind increase in uninsured vehicle claims

In 2016 there were more than 151,000 uninsured private vehicles in the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

In 2016 there were more than 151,000 uninsured private vehicles in the Republic of Ireland. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

 

The number of accident claims arising out of crashes by drivers in uninsured or untraced vehicles has increased by almost 10 per cent in the last two years.

Insurance industry sources say the increasing costs of premiums may be behind the steep rise in the number of claims received by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).

The bureau was set up in 1955 to compensate the victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles. It is funded by the insurance companies.

It pays out annually between €55 million and €60 million and the average cost per claim is €55,364.

MIBI figures show a total of 2,758 claims were received in 2017. This is 2 per cent down on the figure of 2,802 claims made in 2016, but up almost 10 per cent on the 2,516 claims made in 2015.

Car insurance premiums rose by 57 per cent between 2011 and 2016, according to a recent report by the Government’s Cost of Insurance Working Group. They dropped slightly last year.

Dublin (1,140) accounted for 41 per cent of all claims handled by the bureau in 2017. Cork and Limerick had the second and third highest number of claims.

We are continuing to work with the gardaí, the State and the rest of the motor insurance industry to bring forward measures that will help combat this problem

Some counties experienced sharp rises in the number of claims. Leitrim had the highest percentage increase (70 per cent), followed by Roscommon (60 per cent), Carlow (43 per cent) and Monaghan (42 per cent).

These may be down to the relatively small number of cases in each county with the numbers in Leitrim increasing from 10 in 2016 to 17 last year.

Suspicious claims

MIBI chief executive David Fitzgerald said the 2,758 claims in 2017 had to be seen in the context that prior to 2015, the number of claims were consistently between 2,400 and 2,500 every year.

He added: “There are a number of factors behind this change, including the number of uninsured drivers operating on Irish roads. As the MIBI outlined in late 2016, at that time there were more than 151,000 uninsured private vehicles in the Republic of Ireland.

“We are continuing to work with the gardaí, the State and the rest of the motor insurance industry to bring forward measures that will help combat this problem.”

The bureau estimates that one claim in eight it processes is suspicious. It saved €1.8 million in potential payouts in the first six months of 2017 through its Fighting Fraud strategy which has increased the level of surveillance on potentially suspicious claimants.

Mr Fitzgerald added: “We are now making it much more difficult for claims of this type to succeed and we believe this more aggressive approach will lead to the decline in bogus claims over time, reducing the overall number of claims received in future.”