Tuesday, 17 December 2019
The Central Bank's report on private motor insurance reveals a shocking story of continuous rip-off of the people of Ireland, in particular young people, by the insurance industry. It is also a damning indictment of the Government's weakness, paralysis and failure to protect people from a greedy and exploitative industry and the Government's inability to change the story over the past eight years. At times, the Government seemed to side with the industry and accept its explanations. This is the first comprehensive study of premiums and cost claims in Ireland and it undermines the narrative of the companies and their claims about spiralling pay-outs and increased claims being the major factor underpinning growing premium increases. It found that between 2009 and 2018, the average cost of claims per policy fell by 2.5%, while average premiums jumped by 42%. It is even more alarming that in the past five years, from 2013 to 2018, average premiums went up by 62%. Meanwhile, the industry generated an average operating profit of 9%, twice the level of profitability seen in the United Kingdom. We know personal injuries claims, the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, PIAB, and legal costs are also factors. Last week, the Taoiseach told me in the Dáil that motor insurance had come down by 20% or 30%.