I am aware of the concerns raised by the Deputy and have considerable sympathy for them.
However, neither the Minister for Finance, nor 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. Consequently, neither the Minister nor I is 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 motor insurers use a combination of rating factors in making their individual decisions on whether to offer cover and what terms to apply. Factors include those such as the age of the vehicle, as well as the type of vehicle, the age of the driver, the relevant driving experience, the claims record, the number of drivers, and how the vehicle is used. 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, insurance companies 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 insurance companies will use different age thresholds.
Notwithstanding the above, Departmental officials have continued to engage 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 in this regard.
Finally, under the terms of the Declined Cases Agreement, 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 the relevant e-mail address is: email@example.com