Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Finance
78. To ask the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the practice of insurance companies requesting engineers' certificates before offering quotes to potential customers; the circumstances in which this practice might be appropriate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5907/20]
I understand that the Deputy’s question is in relation to motor insurance. At the outset you should note that neither I, as Minister for Finance, nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products or have the power to direct insurance companies to provide cover to specific individuals or businesses. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance (the Solvency II Directive) which expressly prohibits Member States from doing so. Consequently, I am not in a position to direct insurance companies as to the pricing level or terms or conditions that they should apply in respect of particular categories of vehicles.
I understand that in making their individual decisions on whether to offer cover and what terms to apply, insurers use a combination of rating factors, such as the age of the driver, the age and type of vehicle, the relevant individual claims record and driving experience of the driver, the number of drivers, and how the car is used. Insurers will price in accordance with their own overall past claims experience.
With regard to the scenario in the Deputy’s question, I understand that there may be circumstances where an insurer may ask for an additional engineer’s certificate, for example if a vehicle has ever been modified or been repaired by an unofficial mechanic following an accident, etc.. While there may be a view that because a vehicle has a valid NCT certificate that such a report would not be necessary, it should be noted that insurers will generally require as a minimum that a car has a valid NCT in order to be covered. Accordingly, they will generally reserve the right to ask for additional information if they think it appropriate.
In summary, the requirements that insurers make of individual potential policyholders, and the prices they offer, differ across the market – which is why it is so important – as the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website (www.ccpc.ie/consumers/money/insurance/) recommends, to “shop around” and “always get quotes from several insurance providers when you need to get or renew insurance”.
Finally, as you may already be aware, Insurance Ireland, the representative body for insurance providers in this country, operates an Insurance Information Service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to obtaining insurance, which can be accessed at: email@example.com.