SINN Féin TD Martin Ferris has strongly criticised both the insurance industry and the last Government after he was contacted by Kerry motorists saying their insurance premiums have risen by as much as 40 per cent in twelve months.
In one instance he said a man was quoted €3,000 despite having over 5 years experience and a clean driving record.
Recent figures released from the CSO’s Consumer Price Index for the past twelve months show a 30.5% increase in the average cost of car insurance in 2015 over the previous year. Deputy Ferris says that constituents who are now renewing policies for 2016 are reporting increases of up to 40 per cent compared with prices quoted last year.
Deputy Ferris said that it was unacceptable that companies are forcing such dramatic increases on consumers, and has criticised the outgoing Government for not conducting a proper review into premium prices.
“Insurance companies have been increasing premium prices across the board over the last number of months and are actively refusing to insure older cars resulting in the cost of owning and driving a car to sky rocket,” he said.
“If we look at the figures from the CSO for 2015, we’ve already witnessed proof that the average premium across the state has risen by 30.5% compared to 2014.
“In recent weeks, I’ve been contacted by drivers from across the county who are very concerned at the hike in prices quoted to them by their insurer for cover for the next twelve months – some have seen a 40% jump in the cost of their premiums. I have also been contacted by numerous young drivers who cannot afford the exorbitant rates insurance companies are looking for, in one instance a young driver has to consider whether he will continue in his current employment as he needs a car to travel to his place of work and his insurance company are asking for over €3000, this despite the fact that he has over 5 years experience and a clean driving record.”
“It is unacceptable for companies to boost the cost of car insurance to such a degree and it is particularly unfair for young drivers who face being priced off the road as a result of such shameful profiteering. Rural isolation and the inherent mental health problems that accompany it, will be exasperated if rising costs of insurance are not tackled in the short term.”
“Motor insurance is mandatory and the Government therefore has a duty as a legislator to conduct a review of premium prices, but as yet they have done very little to remedy this problem.
“My party colleague Deputy Pearse Doherty in fact has been raising this issue in the Dáil with Minister Noonan who simply claims that the issue is ‘complex’ and he continues to hide behind EU law in relation to the motor industry.
“Measures such as enhancing existing legislation and improving Garda technology to help combat fraud could have been considered, but the action required has not happened and thus premiums have been steadily growing.
“I acknowledge that an inter-departmental working group has been established to examine the cost of car insurance and to then make recommendations, however the group has only just begun its work so the chances of motorists in Kerry seeing any improvement in the near future is unlikely.”