Govt must move to deal with soaring insurance costs

Claire McGovern

Reporter:

Claire McGovern

Soaring motor insurance costs for businesses and families must be tackled

The government must take urgent action to tackle exorbitant insurance costs for businesses, families and motor insurance customers .

Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy says the government must take urgent action to tackle exorbitant insurance costs for businesses, families and motor insurance customers as the situation is now unsustainable and sustained government action is required to tackle the problem.

Deputy Murphy was commenting this week following his party’s private members’ business motion on the insurance sector which came before the Dáil on Wednesday and the challenges homeowners, business owners and motorists are facing to maintain their insurance.

“Across the board, we have seen excessive and exorbitant increases in the cost of obtaining insurance, and it is forcing many policy holders to make a choice about whether to keep paying or not.

“I have been inundated with calls to my constituency office with angry and frustrated motorists who have witnessed a 30% to 40% increase in insurance costs. Many people are already struggling to keep their heads above water, pay a mortgage, meet childcare costs and pay bills while putting food on the table and these increases in insurance costs only puts extra pressure on families already struggling to make ends meet.

“This is an issue of particular concern in rural counties like Leitrim, Roscommon and Galway where the public transport system is not on a par with urban centres and people living in rural counties rely on their car to bring their children to school, get to work or to do their shopping in the nearest town. Young motorists are under particular pressure and they are being priced out of the market with ridiculous quotes for car insurance.

“I had a call from a 19-year-old girl who is trying to insurance on his first car and she is being quoted €6,000- I also have a case of a hotel in my constituency where the insurance has gone up from €20,000 to €50,000 this year and they have no claims!

“I was  contacted by a constituent whose car insurance has gone from €560 in 2015 to over €800  in 2017 and this is a person with no claims and a ten year old car which is valued at around €2,000. As this man pointed out he received €5 back per week in his salary when the USC cuts came in but he is now faced with rising car insurance costs as well as the crippling cost of family health insurance. This man has no fear of anyone coming in robbing his house through the front door when they can just do it through his letter box!

“Many businesses, and in particular SMEs, are also experiencing massive increases, in the order of 40% and higher, in their premiums for motor, public liability and employer liability cover.

“We cannot allow these costs rise unabated; we must ensure that Ireland remains a competitive place to both live and work.

“We are calling on the Government to urgently complete the action points which should have been completed by now according to the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance.  We are also calling on the Government to bring forward deadlines for certain major action points like establishing a National Claims Information Database.

“The Government must also set out clear timelines and parameters for Phase II of the Cost of Insurance Working Group which looks at business insurance.

“Inaction is no longer acceptable.  With Brexit and an ever more uncertain world we need to address these areas that hurt our cost competitiveness.  High insurance costs hurt jobs, businesses and households,” concluded Deputy Murphy.