Insurance and motorists

Sir, – At last we are getting some data regarding the performance of the motor insurance business in Ireland (Ciarán Hancock, "Motor insurance woes set to drive many of us round the bend", The Bottom Line, September 28th).

The mere fact that 21 companies are listed as providers is extraordinary when five companies account for 87 per cent of policy losses. One company accounts for 37 per cent of the market losses, two others for 15 per cent, followed by two more at 10 per cent, with one major player in marginal profit.

One must, given the wide divergence in losses, ask the simple question as to why we are seeing huge and uniform percentage increases across the board, with the threat of more to come. We might be forgiven if we came to the conclusion that in reality we don’t actually have a competitive market.

That these companies would take their policy income and invest it in markets that are at their most volatile in decades is at the very least foolish. The fact that this is common practice and a mechanism to underpin what clearly is an unstable, if not an unsustainable, business in its own right, suggests the need for urgent Government intervention before many hard-pressed motorists are forced off the road.


It is ironic that as I write this one of the larger providers has a television campaign extolling the virtues of its policies. Surely retrenchment should be the order of the day. – Yours, etc,


Bray, Co Wicklow.