Claims register considered for lowering cost of motor insurance

Government to look at anti-fraud measures and hiking penalties for uninsured drivers

The Government will establish a national claims register as part of an initiative to tackle the spiralling cost of motor insurance.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance Eoghan Murphy has completed a report on the costs of motor insurance.

The review is now being considered by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, who is expected to bring recommendations to Cabinet within weeks.

There are a number of areas being examined by the Minister, including increased use of automatic number plate recognition and a new register that would see insurance companies publish anonymous details of all of their payouts.


It is understood there will also be legislative measures to combat fraud and increased penalties for uninsured drivers.

The plan will cover nine areas, with a commitment to introduce measures within a certain timeframe.

The Department of Finance is hopeful the report can be published by the end of December, for implementation from January.

John McGuinness, chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, urged the Government to complete its work as soon as possible.

“I have stated before that motor insurance in this country is a threat to the economy,” the Fianna Fáil TD said. “The costs are crippling families. A lot of policies are up for renewal at the beginning of the year and we have to see action by then.”

The committee held a series of hearings with interested bodies in September. It is due to complete a report and issue a series of recommendations.

12-month high rise

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the cost of motor insurance has risen by 38.3 per cent in just 12 months.

The picture over an extended period is even bleaker, with the cost of insurance said to have climbed by 70 per cent over just three years.

The Department of Finance established the taskforce on motor insurance earlier this year, which included representatives from the Department of Justice and Transport included.

Officials from the Central Bank, the Personal Insurance Advisory Board and the Small Claims Agency also participated. Mr Murphy also met with a number of key stakeholders, including Insurance Ireland, AA Ireland and the Consumer Association of Ireland.

The Government report is expected to move to increase transparency around awards, make improvements in data sharing, and introduce measures to ensure increased detection of uninsured drivers.

One of the recommendations is to speed up the number of vehicles that have an automatic number plate recognition system.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed that only 100 Garda traffic corps vehicles are currently fitted with such equipment.

“The Garda authorities have informed me that, as of 24 October 2016, some 103 official Garda vehicles, 91 of which are in the Traffic Corps, have been fitted with ANPR,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“I am assured by the Garda authorities that the use of ANPR, including the current capabilities and any possible expansion thereof, is kept under constant review in the light of identified operational needs.”