Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers (Resumed). - Motor Insurance.

245.

asked the Minister for Local Government (a) how many complaints were received since August, 1969, regarding excessive quotations or charges for motor vehicle insurance; (b) how many refusals to provide motor insurance at reasonable terms were reported to him; and (c) whether he took any steps to ensure provisional or appropriate cover.

Figures are available in respect of the period 1st June, 1969, to date and these show that in that period (a) 163 complaints about quotations for excessive premiums and (b) 41 complaints about refusal of cover were received in my Department. In regard to (c) I have an agreement with the general body of motor insurers under which they have agreed to look into cases of refusal of cover or of premiums so high as to be tantamount to refusal. All the complaints were referred to the insurers under this agreement and as a result in the case of complaints about premiums, reduced quotations were made in 37 cases (15 are still under examination) and in the case of the other complaints, cover was offered in 38 cases.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary say what course is open to a person who has been refused cover if his livelihood depends on keeping a car on the road and if he is compelled by law to insure? If he is caught driving without cover because he has been refused cover, where is he? The second point relates to where a most unreasonable demand is made on him for a premium. If he cannot get a premium at reasonable rates, is he breaking the law?

Does the Parliamentary Secretary regard this as fair play?

What the Parliamentary Secretary has said is that we have received complaints, and an aggrieved person has a right to complain to the Department of Local Government.

How long does it take to process these complaints?

This I do not know, but we have dealt with a number and as you can see, where a complaint was successful, excessive charges were reduced.

What I want to impress upon the Parliamentary Secretary is the seriousness of the situation, particularly in the Dublin region. A number of people are caught; they have to break the law because their livelihood depends on breaking the law when they cannot get cover.