Thursday, 3 October 2019

Questions (73)

Michael McGrath


73. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the rank of Ireland in the EU in terms of the level of motor insurance costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40481/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

At the outset, it is important to note that as Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation and my Department does not collect the type of information being sought by the Deputy.

It is very difficult to compare insurance costs across Europe due to differences in legal and regulatory systems in each member state. Nonetheless, to try and be as helpful to the Deputy as possible, Insurance Europe, the European (re)insurance federation, produces reports on an ongoing basis regarding the insurance industry across Europe. For example, the European Insurance in Figures (2017 data) and the European Motor Insurance Markets, both published in early 2019, contain some useful comparative information in respect of insurance costs up to 2017. The European Insurance — Key Facts report published in October 2018, graphs the average premium level across European countries for a variety of insurance products for the year 2017. The varying levels of premiums across Europe are accounted for by a wide range of regulatory, risk and economic factors which differ across European jurisdictions.

In relation to insurance costs, it was noted by the Personal Injuries Commission in their reports that it was not possible to have meaningful comparisons to the European data (excluding the UK) regarding award levels (which are a key driver for insurance costs) as this information was not provided to them or available at a sufficiently granular level. However, I acknowledge that both insurance costs and award levels for personal injuries in Ireland are much higher than in our European counterparts. This is why the work of the Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) is so important.

The CIWG, which was established in July 2016, and which produced two reports, is continuing to work to implement the recommendations of the Cost of Motor Insurance Report and the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance Report.  Its most recent Progress Update, the Ninth, was published in July 2019 and shows that the vast majority of recommendations and actions due by Q2 2019 have been completed.

I believe that these reforms are having a significant impact with regard to private motor insurance (CSO figures from August 2019 show that the price of motor insurance is now 24% lower than the July 2016 peak).  The Government is determined to keep working to ensure that these positive pricing trends continue and can be extended to other forms of insurance.