Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.24 3 Nov 2020


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Sinn Féin's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty says Irish people are being 'ripped off' and 'fleeced' by motor insurance companies.

It comes as a new report shows motor insurance premiums have risen by 35% over the last decade, despite the cost of claims falling by 9%.

The Central Bank report also shows that the average cost of a claim rose 65% while the frequency of claims fell 45%.

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The cost of claims per policy fell 9%, while claims costs were 72% of earned premium between 2009 and 2019.

However the average premium fell in the last year to €676.

It has also revealed that, between 2015 and 2019, the average compensation for motor insurance injury claims through litigation was €46,214 - and average legal costs were €23,409.

The Central Bank says the Private Motor Insurance Report of the National Claims Information Database (NCID) is published "to improve the overall transparency of the private motor claims environment."

Pearse Doherty told Newstalk Breakfast the Government 'needs to get real' about this issue.

"What we're seeing now from the second annual report from the National Claims Information Database... is that consumers are being ripped off, they're being fleeced by motor insurance companies right across the board.

"That is there in black and white.

"What we're seeing within the insurance company is we're seeing hyper profits - they've risen again from 9%, that was a hyper profits last year, now they're at 10% of profits.

"What we see is premiums that have increased by over 35% over the last decade, while at the time the cost of claims have reduced by 9%.

"So what we should have seen over that period is actually premiums coming down, alongside the cost of claims - but actually went in the opposite direction."

Insurance industry 'spin'

He said approaches such as dual pricing "where the industry uses information and databases to see how much they can charge you, how far they can push you terms of premiums" need to be 'banned and outlawed.'

"We need to deal with issues in terms of duty of care for public liability and other issues.

"And we need to ensure that there's an information campaign to inform consumers that actually take your settlement from PIAB [Personal Injuries Assessment Board], because what you're getting in the courts is roughly the same".

He said despite claims of a rising so-called 'compensation culture' in Ireland, it still comes down to the same issue.

"People say we have a 'compo culture' because why? Because the insurance industry tells us.

"You have to strip through all the spin - and this is what infuriated me that we had people like Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, Minister D'Arcy previously, regurgitating the spin of the insurance industry.

"This is laid out in black and white for us now - this is every single insurance company that sells motor insurance in Ireland and their information provided to us by the Central Bank."

"Now they will try and tell us that we need to look 'compo culture' and we need to look at the high cost of claims and we need to look at fraud and all the rest.

"Actually, what they don't want us to look at is the fact that their profits year-on-year is increasing at a time when they're ripping off customers".

People 'being fleeced' by motor insurance companies - Pearse Doherty

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Main image: Sinn Féin spokesperson on finance Pearse Doherty, speaking to media at Leinster House. Picture by: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

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Central Bank Report Motor Insurance NCID National Claims Information Database Newstalk Breakfast Pearse Doherty

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