Aviva says whiplash claims cost every driver €130

Leading insurer calls the situation "a national concern"

EU Commission, insurers, review, car insurance, no claims bonus, MEP, Mairead McGuinness

File photo of a driver at the wheel | Image: Jonathan Brady / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Aviva Insurance has told its customers that whiplash claims are adding €130 to the cost of the average motor premium.

Outlining why premiums have shot up 70% in the past three years  and 38% in the last year alone  the insurer has revealed that eight out of every 10 claims it deals with are for whiplash. To put that in context, whiplash accounts for a mere 3% of claims in France.

The insurer cites poor regulation, excessive court awards and the cost of legal fees as accounting in combination for the hike in premiums.

Some 60% of the costs of cases settled in court are for legal fees.

Aviva has called the lack of action in tackling the issue "a national concern" that is "not acceptable".

It is also critical of how Quinn Insurance was allowed to trade and noted that its collapse will cost the public over €1bn through a levy on general insurance policies.

In a letter, Aviva called on its customers to ask their local public representatives to "address this important topic as a matter of urgency in the Oireachtas".

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath has said of Aviva's comments:

"The blame game is now in full swing.

"We now have a situation where all the stakeholders are blaming each other for premium hikes, but it begs the question, who is looking after the interests of consumers in all of this?

“Every week now, I am being contacted by motorists who are receiving a renewal notice in the letterbox with much larger increases. Premium increases of 60%, 70% and even higher are not uncommon.”

McGrath called for the Government to set a tighter deadline for the task force investigating the issue to deliver its report and to implement its recommendations swiftly.