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Insurance Ireland 'cooperating fully' with office raids regarding motor premium costs

A number of motor insurance offices have been raided today regarding alleged price-fixing amid rising costs

shutterstock_597946376 Authorities from Ireland and Europe are both understood to be involved. Source: Shutterstock

Updated 16.35

INSURERS’ REPRESENTATIVE BODY Insurance Ireland says it is ‘cooperating fully’ with the office raids seen earlier today on Irish-based insurance companies as part of investigations into alleged price-fixing.

The investigations are being carried out by Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the European Competition Directorate.

“Insurance Ireland can confirm that it is subject to an unannounced inspection at its premises by the European Commission,” the body said this afternoon in a statement.

Insurance Ireland understands that the inspection at its premises relates to databases concerning claims history information and drivers’ penalty points.
Insurance Ireland is co-operating fully with the European Commission and is confident its practices are fully compliant with competition law. Insurance Ireland is not in a position to comment further at this time.

Meanwhile, numerous politicians have welcomed reports of raids on Irish-based insurance companies as part of investigations into alleged price-fixing.

Both investigating bodies have declined to provide an official comment on their actions but Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty TD said it was positive news.

“I welcome news this morning of raids being carried out by competition enforcement officials investigating possible cartel behaviour,” the deputy said.

This is good news for consumers that concerns I have voiced for some time about cartelism now are being taken seriously.

The Irish Independent reports that insurance companies, brokers and representative bodies were all raided as part of the probe.

Reacting to the news, Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath said the results of any investigations must be consumer focused.

“The number one priority of this investigation has to be to ensure that consumers are protected from any potential anti-competitive behaviour in the insurance industry,” he said.

It is imperative that the probe reaches a clear conclusion as to whether there are anti-competitive practices across the insurance industry that are having a detrimental impact on consumers. “Given the dramatic hike in motor insurance premiums in recent years, motorists deserve to know whether coordination across the industry has been a factor.

Social Democrat councillor Anne-Marie McNally also welcomed news of the raids saying that motor insurance premium costs were becoming “an out of control situation”.

Asked about the reports in the Dáil today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he had no information on the raids but was in no doubt that if sufficient evidence was found then action would be taken.

Additional reporting Cianan Brennan

Read: Supreme Court rules State must make payouts to claimants affected by collapse of Setanta Insurance

Read: Innocent motorists in serious road accidents 5 years ago still ‘haven’t seen a cent’

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Rónán Duffy

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