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With car insurance premiums having been driven to an all-time high in 2016, insurers are now saying that there could be a reduction coming for a majority of drivers, but that it may take some time.
According to the latest Consumer Price Index of motor insurance costs, premiums have fallen on average by 6.7 per cent so far this year, but that means there's still a long way to go to wipe out the 38.6 per cent rise in costs in 2016.
According to Jonathan Hehir of Coverinaclick.ie, insurance premiums for a majority of drivers will only start to come down once a series of 'ifs' have turned into actual happenings. "If you look back over the last 5 years of CPI for car insurance you can get a pretty clear picture of where we've come from and where we're going in terms of pricing. We are going in the right direction, but concerted action needs to be taken if premiums are ever to fall below the dizzying heights they reached in 2016" said Hehir.
"When it comes to fraud, it has been encouraging to see the judiciary challenging the really dodgy cases and throwing them out in many cases. The ongoing campaigning by certain members of the media in this regard also has to be commended for its effectiveness, as does the insurer-backed new Garda fraud-prevention unit, to combat a growing epidemic that is hitting the pockets of every law-abiding citizen in the country who has to shell out to cover the costs of the fraudulent behaviour of others. We are also seeing greater appreciation throughout the industry of the high costs of personal injury awards in this country, which are a multiple of those paid in other states. The average motor claim is almost €21,000. This compares with close to €4,000 in the UK, €1,500 in France and between €2,500 and €6,000 in Germany. Whiplash claims in particular have proven to especially spurious in many cases. And there's no doubt that these high costs have been and will continue to be passed on to the consumer if nothing is done to reduce them."
The insurance industry says that both costs and fraud must be tackled before there is any significant decrease in the cost of insurance. While there is hope that a new Garda anti-fraud unit, specialising in insurance fraud, could be of help in this regard, some are still saying that it's the insurance industry that needs to get its house in order to bring down costs.
Kian Griffin, of pressure group Ireland Underground, thinks that the insurance industry in Ireland requires radical restructuring, something that he feels the Government will not tackle. "Despite CSO statistics showing the average cost of motor insurance declining in the last 12-18 months, many individuals, particularly younger drivers are still paying sky-high premiums and struggling to get on the road. It is particularly difficult for those in rural areas where public transport is not an option" Griffin told CompleteCar.
"The Department of Finance has been dragging its feet on this matter for far too long, it has had numerous submissions over the last two years with various options for tackling the extortionate cost of insurance. It has long since past crisis point. The private insurance sector itself has had many opportunities to correct itself and still refuses to do so. Perhaps it is time for Ireland to look at an altogether different system of insurance. A no-fault system, much like New Zealand, has often been mentioned but not fully analysed by the Department. It may be that such a radical change is beyond this current government, it would almost certainly upset the interest of the companies involved in the sector. It would likely, however, be of benefit to the people."