Insurance group claims industry "not acting like a cartel"

A government committee has found that consumers have effectively been told to accept insurance increases without any explanation

Insurance group claims industry "not acting like a cartel"

Image: Jonathan Brady PA Wire/PA Images

The head of a group representing Irish insurance companies has rejected claims the industry is acting like a “cartel.”

It comes after a report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance found that car insurance premiums have risen by an average of 37% - with some premiums seeing hikes of between 200% and 300%.

Insurance companies came in for some heavy criticism in the report - with an unwillingness to share data seen as contributing to the large rise in premiums.

The committee found that consumers have effectively been told to accept increases without any explanation.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Declan Jackson, Director of Government Affairs at Insurance Ireland said the industry is “absolutely not acting like a 'cartel'” and insisted the hikes are of no benefit to insurers.

Mr Jackson said premiums are being driven up by a “volatility in the cost of claims” - despite the report finding that costs are “static or down.”

The report has made 71 key recommendations to regulate the spiralling costs of motor premiums - including forcing companies to reveal details of claims, tougher penalties for drivers caught speeding or on their mobile phone while driving and providing the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) with greater powers.

The authors of the report said the recommendations contribute significantly to “addressing the lack of transparency, as well as the unfairness that is rampant in the market.”

“Many claims are settled outside PIAB and the courts and the insurance company pay-outs are essentially invisible,” the report reads.

“We are calling for insurance companies to be compelled to provide detailed information on claims settled outside of PIAB - and for PIAB to be modernised.”

Committee members have urged the government to “implement some or all of our recommendations” as soon as possible to ensure customers can expect to obtain insurance at “a reasonable price.”