Insurance companies “can do more” to bring down premiums as pay-outs continue to fall, according to the junior minister for insurance.
New Central Bank data shows that motor insurance premiums fell by 5% in the first six months of last year.
The same report notes, however, that the cost of claims settled directly through the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) by between one-third and a half since new judicial guidelines were introduced two years ago.
The Alliance for Insurance Reform has praised the new judicial guidelines but warned that insurance companies are still taking policyholders and Government for a ride with high premiums.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the junior minister for insurance Jennifer Carroll MacNeill said insurance companies can still do more to reduce premiums.
“I think they can do more but what I am encouraging is that the insurance companies, and also everybody else, stick with the PIAB process, which is faster,” she said.
“It resolves in two years as opposed to four, you will get the same outcome essentially as you would in court but the costs - the legal costs - are 20 times higher in court.
“That puts up the cost of insurance for everybody else.
“What I am trying to do is make sure I am holding insurance companies to account on their premiums overall but also sticking within that mediated process, with PIAB, and making sure the mediated process works."
The Central Bank report notes that just over one-third of injury claims were settled through litigation in the first half of last year – with those claims making up over 75% of the total costs.
Minister Carroll MacNeill said she was pleased to see the drop in premiums – noting that it is “really important motor insurance is affordable and accessible”.
She claimed the cost of insurance policies have fallen by around one-quarter since 2017.
Asked whether companies were doing enough on the cost of policies, she said she has been very clear with CEOs on what she wants to see.
“I am minister for insurance and while I can’t intervene or set prices, I can be very clear with the CEOs of the insurance companies about where I believe this needs to go,” she said.
“I’ve met every single one of those CEOs and set out very clearly the advantages the new system has and I’ve really held them to that to ensure they are cooperating with PIAB and that they are not drifting into the court process at the end of the day.”
You can listen back here:
Main image is a split-screen showing insurance minister Jennifer Carroll MacNeill and a damaged car.