Last month we asked the Tánaiste about the dramatic 30% increase in car insurance and the fact it was putting motorists under severe financial pressure. On top of the latest rise, Insurance Ireland is predicting a further 25% rise in 2016. People paying a premium of €450 can expect their bill to increase to €600. The Government responded at that time that there were many reasons for the rise in insurance costs, including rulings on the equalisation of charges for male and female drivers, the amalgamation of the insurance industry and increased payouts. Equalisation did not necessarily contribute to increased premia and is all but a red herring. While the other reasons given may have contributed to increased costs, they do not warrant a possible 55% increase in insurance premia over a two-year period.
The insurance industry seems to be getting out of control and no one, it appears, is representing the consumer. When the Motor Insurance Advisory Board, MIAB, was in place, the insurance industry only increased insurance rates by 40% over an 11-year period. It had a role in keeping costs down and protecting consumers. Today, the report of the rating agency Standard & Poor's slates the Central Bank over insurance failures. It asks whether the Central Bank has the ability to regulate the sector at all.
In December, the Government did not rule out the reinstatement of the MIAB. Given the rise in insurance premia in the motor industry and for homes in flooded areas that already have flood relief schemes in place, is the Tánaiste satisfied the insurance industry is being properly regulated? Does she believe an insurance advisory board should be established to rein in these costs and ensure all consumers and home and business owners at least have the opportunity to insure their cars and properties at reasonable prices?