Call for motor insurance review as major firms record profits

Motor insurance premiums have risen by 70% over the past three years

There are calls for a review of motor insurance premiums as major insurance firms record rising profits.

While the cost of car insurance has dropped slightly in recent months - it has risen 70% over the past three years.

Aviva insurance has seen profits for the first half of the year rise by 12% to €48m, while earlier this week, RSA confirmed it had returned to profit.

FBD Insurance is also expected to announce profits for the first half of 2017.

The three firms account for the majority of motor insurance cover in Ireland.

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Conor Faughnan, director of consumer affairs at AA Ireland warned that more reforms of the industry are needed if premiums are to return to affordable levels.

"One swallow does not make a summer, we have got to be desperately, desperately cautious about predicting future prices not least because you can become self-fulfilling - but it looks a little better now than it was a couple of years ago," he said.

"Everybody recognises that reforms are needed.

"The reforms that we laid out a couple of years ago are starting to  happen but this is not a battle won, there is still plenty more to do.

Meanwhile, insurers are calling for the injury payouts system to be urgently reformed - warning that premiums will remain high until courts bring down their claims costs.

Mr Faughnan told Pat that the companies themselves have taken a more hands-on approach to reducing claims costs in recent years.

"Insurance companies themselves have gotten less lazy," he said. "Where previously they might have looked at a claim and said he is asking for €40,000, it is probably only worth €10,000 but fighting it is a hassle, let's offer him €20,000 and see if he goes away."

"Scale that up across all the claims and that is a whole lot of money that you and I have to pay in our premiums.

"They have gotten much better at that and they are fighting more vigorously now."

You can listen back to Conor Faughnan's appearance on the Pat Kenny Show here: