Offaly TD labels car insurance 'highway robbery' in the Dáil
Carol Nolan Sinn Féin has described the extortionate cost of motor Insurance as highway robbery.
Speaking on an Independent rural TD’s Private Members Bill on the Motor Insurance Industry, Deputy Nolan stated that “despite many previous debates in the Dáil the Insurance Industry continues to avoid accountability by weaving an elaborate spectacle using smoke and mirrors."
"It seems to me that when the industry cites unsubstantiated claims such as fraud or large insurance claim payouts, that this House sits on its hands and accepts their rhetoric without question," she said.
Nolan went on to criticise the failure of government to put in place measures for consumers to comply with their legal obligation to hold motor insurance.
“Where the State compels the citizen by law to carry an insurance product, then State has an obligation to directly provide an affordable solution or regulate the third parties who do so. The State is doing neither.”
She also criticised the practise of ‘loading’ policies for older vehicles. “Where the State compels a citizen to put vehicles through a compulsory Road Worthiness Test such as NCT or CVRT, and the vehicle attains the quality standard required, then it has an obligation to ensure that insurers must not treat it less favourably than any other vehicle that attains the same standard of roadworthiness.”
Deputy Nolan stated that the Insurers are one the one hand penalising or rewarding a driver on their driving competency and accumulated record, and on the other hand they penalise the same driver on the age of their vehicle, despite that vehicle having attained the State required standard.
Drivers with impeccable records returning to Ireland from abroad are being loaded for no apparent reason, even when seeking quotations for new or relatively new vehicles.
"Drivers being given wide ranging quotations based on exactly the same risk criteria without. We have reached a situation where there is absolutely no transparency whatsoever as to the metrics being used to calculate premiums and this is beyond defensible."
"One thing we do know however, is that Motor Insurance companies have earned significant profits these past two years. What also know, is that the Motor Industry is operating within the same market as other European countries, none of which has motor insurance costs comparable to Ireland," Carol commented.
"Needless to say the impact of this outrageous State approved extortion weighs more heavily on rural dwellers than those in urban centres with public transport alternatives. For those who can find a means to finance their premiums, it places an unjust demand on their incomes."
"For those who cannot finance such penal premiums it militates against their access to work, prohibits their access to community services and significantly diminishes their quality of life. Only today I was contacted about a young man who holds a full Driver’s License, was previously a ‘named driver’ on his parents’ insurance and was quoted €3,500 for a policy in his own name. This young man has been offered a sought-after apprenticeship but will be unable to accept it without transport. This isoutrageous and without justification," the Sinn Féin TD said.
"Despite the public anger and repeated debate in this House, the Insurance industry is licensed by the State to operate in an entirely opaque manner. There is a heavier burden of accountability on a local charity running a raffle than there is on the entire motor industry. Either the State operates a Mutual Insurance Fund or else it heavily regulate the private sector to provide affordable commercial products. In any case, the current rip-off of motorists can no longer be tolerated."