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.