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Sinn Féin call for state car insurance scheme - Senator Doherty

7 December, 2007

Sinn Féin Donegal Senator Pearse Doherty has called on government to introduce a state car insurance scheme that does not discriminate drivers on age or gender, instead basing insurance premiums on a person’s driving record and the cover required.


“Young drivers in this state, who make up 20 per cent of all drivers, are being bled dry and ripped off by insatiable private motor insurance companies while the government continue to look on. In a recent reply to a Sinn Féin Parliamentary Question on this issue, the Minister for Transport accepted that and I quote “in the case of young drivers it has been represented that the cost of this insurance is still too high.” The problem has been admitted, it is now high time that the government acted and put an end to this rip off of our young drivers.


“Young drivers, especially males, are forced to pay exorbitant prices for motor insurance. A significant number of people are forced into purchasing private cars in the first place due to inadequate public transport provision. The cost of motor insurance is a huge financial burden for most young people.


“The National Youth Council of Ireland’s report on motor insurance, ‘The Plunder Years’, found that many young drivers are forced to pay insurance premiums by instalment as a result of high insurance costs. This form of payment incurs an interest charge of over 18 per cent, further hiking up the price.


“Motor insurance costs in this state are almost double the EU average.  In addition there is inadequate regulation, information and research into the insurance industry.


“I would like to ask the Minister his opinion on Sinn Féin’s proposal to set up a state motor insurance scheme? There is a model there in Canada with the Canadian Government Insurance Company in ManitobaProvince. This insurance company does not discriminate on age or sex; the only things taken into account are the car you drive, what you use it for, where you live, your driving record and the cover you want. Quotes are much the same for everyone. New Zealand also runs such a scheme. These companies have proven their viability and actually contribute to better road safety through involvement in every aspect of road awareness projects.


“It is unacceptable that young drivers are being discriminated against when it comes to car insurance thereby forcing some to become uninsured drivers and an even bigger threat to other road users.


“Young motorists are charged premiums that are not remotely reflective of the costs of actually insuring them but little has been done by government except to allow the continued exploitation of young drivers.


“There is an obvious need to set up a state motor insurance scheme were insurance is sold at a fair price and is not set by market forces. The National Youth Council of Ireland also suggested that drivers with an accident free record should be entitled to a rebate funded by a levy on the profits of insurance companies.” CRÍOCH


“Through a state-run system any profits accumulated could be used to offset the cost of providing insurance and also making premiums lower. Sinn Féin believes that affordable motor insurance should be available to every resident in the State regardless of age, sex or marital status.” CRÍOCH



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