Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Ceisteanna (25)

Niamh Smyth


25. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Finance his plans to deal with the rising cost of motor insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21168/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The Deputy should note that the Minister for Finance is responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. Neither he, nor I, nor the Central Bank can interfere in the pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on the risks they are willing to accept.

However, it is acknowledged that pricing in the motor insurance sector has been subject to a lot of volatility in recent years and, indeed, the problem of rising motor insurance premiums was the main impetus for the establishment of the Cost of Insurance Working Group.  Its Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance was published in January 2017.  The Report makes 33 recommendations with 71 associated actions to be carried out in agreed timeframes, set out within an Action Plan. 

Work is ongoing on the implementation of the recommendations by the relevant Government Departments and Agencies and there is a commitment within the Report that the Working Group will prepare quarterly updates on its progress.  The fifth such update was published on 11 May and shows that of the 50 separate deadlines set to date within the Action Plan, 40 have been met.  Substantial work has also been undertaken in respect of the nine action points categorised as “ongoing”. 

It should be noted that the most recent CSO data (for April 2018) indicates that private motor insurance premiums have decreased by 19% since peaking in July 2016.  While the CSO statistics indicate a greater degree of stability on an overall basis, these figures represent a broad average and therefore I appreciate many people may still be seeing increases.  However, I am hopeful that the improved stability in pricing will be maintained and that premiums should continue to fall from the very high levels of mid-2016.

Finally, I would recommend drivers who are seeking or renewing insurance to consult the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website, which has an informative section regarding the purchase of car insurance generally.  One of the key tips listed to help cut costs is to “shop around” and “always get quotes from several insurance providers when you need to get or renew insurance”.