Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 6 Feb 2001

Vol. 529 No. 4

Written Answers. - Motor Insurance.

Ivor Callely


98 Mr. Callely asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the measures that are under consideration by her Department to help address the issues associated with motor insurance especially the cost of motor insurance for young and inexperienced drivers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2901/01]

The high cost of motor insurance in Ireland is directly attributable to the cost and frequency of claims incurred by insurance companies in settlement of claims following road accidents. This factor is especially relevant to young drivers, whose adverse claims experience contributes to their consideration by motor insurance companies as a high risk category. The National Roads Authority's Road Accident Facts report for 1999, showed that 40% of drivers killed or seriously injured on Irish roads were between the ages of 18 and 34.

EU law prevents me from intervening directly with the insurance companies in the matter of premium levels or in respect of the risks that they are prepared to underwrite.

It is, therefore, abundantly clear that the primary focus of initiatives aimed at reducing the cost of insurance for motorists, including young drivers, must be on reducing the frequency of accidents and the subsequent claims. There are a number of such initiatives in place. For example, the Irish Insurance Federation, in conjunction with the driving instructors' register, has introduced a scheme of insurance premium discounts for the learner driver on completion of a required number of driving lessons. The National Safety Council, in co-operation with the Garda, continues to promote anti-speeding and anti-drink driving media campaigns. Greater attention to safety on the roads can further reinforce insurance cost reduction measures at Government level.

The work of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board is aimed at providing me with information and advice on trends in motor insurance costs and with policy recommendations for addressing those costs. The issue of the high cost of insurance for young drivers is especially being examined by the board.
Further measures may be expected as a result of the work of the special working group set up to consider the establishment of a personal injuries tribunal. On the basis of that group's second report it is hoped to bring proposals to Government as quickly as possible with the objective of putting arrangements in place to reduce the costs of delivering personal injury compensation by streamlining the claims process. It is also intended to publish the group's report at that stage.
The most effective way of ensuring that the most competitive quotes are available to the Irish consumer is to have as many insurers as possible competing on the Irish market. It appears the implementation of EU legislation, the opening up the EU market to competition from authorised insurers in all EU member states, has had a beneficial effect on competition in the Irish market.