Thursday, 12 July 2018
Department of Finance
Motor Insurance Coverage
94. To ask the Minister for Finance the measures he is taking to assist motorists with vehicles older than ten years who cannot obtain motor insurance despite having an NCT; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31634/18]
97. To ask the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to a situation whereby owners of vehicles over ten years old who have valid NCTs have significant difficulties in insuring these vehicles at a reasonable price; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31674/18]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 94, 97 and 98 together.
Both the Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Mr. Michael D’Arcy T.D., and I are well aware of the concerns raised by the Deputies. However, it should be noted that neither I nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products.
Policy in relation to the NCT lies with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. A valid NCT is generally a minimum requirement in order for an insurer to provide cover. It is, however, not the only rating factor taken into account in the provision of motor insurance; therefore, just because a car has a valid NCT does not automatically mean that an insurer will offer cover. In making their individual decisions on whether to offer cover and what terms to apply, insurers will also use a combination of other rating factors, which include the age of the vehicle, as well as the type of vehicle, the age of the driver, the relevant claims record and driving experience, the number of drivers and how the car is used. My understanding is that insurers do not all use the same combination of rating factors, and as a result prices and availability of cover varies across the market. In addition, insurers will price in accordance with their own past claims experience, meaning that in relation to the age of a vehicle and the availability of cover, different insurers will use different age thresholds.
My officials have been engaging with Insurance Ireland in relation to the availability and cost of insurance for older cars, and have been informed that certain insurance providers have recently changed their acceptance criteria and increased their vehicle age threshold levels. Notwithstanding this, Minister D’Arcy intends to write to Insurance Ireland in order to try and get a more detailed perspective on this matter.
Finally, if a consumer is unable to secure a quotation on the open market, he or she may be in a position to avail of the Declined Cases Agreement (DCA) process. Under the terms of the DCA, the insurance market will not refuse to provide insurance to an individual seeking insurance if the person has approached at least three insurers and has not been able to obtain cover from them. In this regard, there are further details available on the Insurance Ireland website while Insurance Ireland also operates a free Insurance Information Service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to obtaining insurance. The relevant contact details are: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or 01-6761914.