Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath, Peter Burke, has confirmed that the Oireachtas Finance Committee will hold a number of meetings in September in relation to the ongoing issues in the motor insurance industry.
Deputy Burke says the issue of mounting insurance costs has become “one of the most pressing and urgent issues facing us in this country right now”.
“There is a very real prospect that huge numbers of people may become totally cut from accessing towns and villages if change does not happen in the short term,” he said. “This issue disproportionally affects people in rural areas who do not have any public transport systems available to them.
“The working group set up by the Minister of Finance is currently identifying the various reasons behind the spiralling increases in car insurance premiums. I have been inundated with calls from constituents who are in dire straits over the huge increases to their insurance policies, with the vast majority not having changed their car, received any penalty points, or made any claims whatsoever.
“There will be a wide range of experts and industry officials appearing before us at the Finance Committee, and it is my belief that we must drill right down to see the exact make-up of costs incurred by insurance companies.”
Deputy Burke referred to news that 60 per cent of claim-related costs are related to legal fees, but said he wants to see exactly where this money is going to. “Is it raw legal fees, or is it the cost of consultants, of various engineering reports or other avoidable costs,” he said. “There are fundamental issues that need to be examined. I am of the belief that the industry’s various explanations do not adequately explain the huge increases we have seen.
“We have cases where cars over 10 years are not even being considered for quotes, despite the robust car testing system we have in place. This is unfair and unsound practice and not sustainable. The Book of Quantum [a guide used by the InjuriesBoard.ie when assessing compensation for personal injury claims] needs to be examined also, along with looking at the idea of internationally benchmarking claims. These issues need to be addressed with utmost haste and I look forward to getting answers from the experts and officials.”