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There's been a big jump in the number of people being refused car insurance

This week, Fianna Fáil is to propose a motion to tackle the rise in motor insurance costs.

Image: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

THERE HAS BEEN a big jump in the number of people being refused motor insurance.

Figures from Insurance Ireland, which represents the insurance industry, shows that between 2013 and 2014, there was a rise of 361 cases where insurance companies turned down an individual for car insurance.

In 2014 alone, there were 669 cases. These were dealt with under the Declined Cases Agreement, which is adhered to by all motor insurers in Ireland.

The following table sets out the number of cases dealt with under the Declined Cases Agreement in the last three years:

Year                          Number of cases
2012                                     178
2013                                     308
2014                                     669

Under the agreement, the insurance market can not refuse to provide insurance to an individual seeking insurance, if he/she has approached at least three insurers and has not been able to obtain cover from them.

On the up 

Answering a parliamentary question in the Dáil, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said figures for 2015 were not yet available.

However, he said “the number appears to be marginally higher than 2014″.

Noonan said his department is carrying out an overall review of the insurance sector, with an aim to recommend measures to improve regulations.

He said he was also aware of the issue surrounding spiralling costs.

I am aware of the increasing cost of motor insurance. However, the ability of the government to influence insurance pricing is limited as insurance companies are required under European law to price in accordance with risk and neither I, as Minister for Finance, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, have the power to direct insurance companies on the pricing of insurance products.

The minister said the provision and the pricing of insurance policies is a commercial matter for insurance companies. He said this did not preclude the government from introducing measures “that may, in the longer term, lead to a better claims environment that could facilitate a reduction in claims costs”.

This week, Fianna Fáil is to introduce a private members’ motion in the Dáil to tackle the rise in motor insurance costs.

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Insurance costs up 400%

This is not the first time a political party has highlighted the issue.

In April, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty told the Dáil that some drivers had seen their insurance rise by 400%.

Despite the the Central Statistics Office stating premiums have risen by more than 30% in the past 12 months, Doherty said he has been hearing of cases where premiums are up between 200%-400%.

At the time, Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary described efforts made by the government to tackle soaring motor insurance premiums as “extremely feeble”.

“Fianna Fáil is setting out clear proposals to tackle motor insurance costs. This would involve re-establishing the Motor Insurance Advisory Board which was previously successful in reducing motor insurance premiums,” he said.

This motion, which is due to be debated tomorrow, could be another example opposition parties uniting in agreement on issues.

Sinn Féin said it would be the party’s position that it is broadly supportive of the Fianna Fáil motion, however it said it might need to be strengthened.

Read: ‘It’s time we asked questions’: Some drivers’ insurance premiums are up 400% >

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