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Truth and Transparency is the Key to Solving Motor Insurance Debacle - Senator Conway-Walsh

14 September, 2016 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Mayo Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh, the only female member of the Join Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and reform says truth and transparency is the key to solving the unacceptable increases in motor insurance.

Speaking this week after meeting with the Injuries Board, The Society of Actuaries, the Law Society, the Road Haulage Association, the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation, the Car Rental Council, the Consumer Association of Ireland, the Competition and consumer Protection and the Minister of State Eoghan Murphy, Senator Conway Walsh said:

"It is blatantly obvious to me and my party colleague on the Committee, Pearse Doherty TD, that the insurance companies are less than transparent when it comes to releasing the necessary data to enable proper forensic analysis to be carried out.  Each and every witness that came before the committee cited the absence of any real data as an impediment to solving the motor insurance crisis. The insurance industry must now be forced to release the necessary data to the Central Bank.

"The other major concern coming through from our meetings is the uniformity that exist between insurance companies.  The question has to be asked as to whether a cartel is in operation.  I very much welcome the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission's agreement to investigate this.

"This committee has given me the opportunity to highlight the effect that punitive insurance premiums have on those who are engaged in training or apprenticeship courses and those who have to travel to take up employment opportunities. Rural areas, which already suffer from poor public transport, are hit especially hard in this regard.  I have posed the questions as to why returning emigrants have their no claims bonuses in other countries ignored and why requests for thousands of euros are made to them for car insurance when they return home.”

"Today, Pearse Doherty asked why insurance for drivers of older cars is so punitive when there is every likelihood that they go slower and have years of driving experience. The answer from the Society of Actuaries was wholly unsatisfactory. 

“It is also now clear that the number of claims has not increased, nor the value of payouts from claims. The Law Society refute that legal fees have increased. although the outstanding Legal Services Regulation Act needs to implemented immediately.  The extortionate rises in premiums cannot be explained by blaming motorists for more accidents. This simply does not hold up in the information we are getting to date.

“The fact that many insurance companies have suffered heavy losses in foreign investments is not a sufficient reason to heap that burden on customers. What is even more unjust is for the industry to peddle the lie that the increases are due to drivers’ actions, be that fraud or increased claims.

“My job is to get to the bottom of these increases and to put pressure on the industry to come clean. Along with my Sinn Féin colleague Pearse Doherty TD, we ensured that during the month of September as well as the issue of car insurance, that the Apple tax issue, the recent revelations surrounding NAMA and the tax loopholes for vulture funds, would all be discussed by the committee.

“Sinn Féin will ask the tough questions without fear or favour on behalf of all those for whom car insurance increases are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to working hard and facing the ever increasing cost of living in Ireland.”

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