Motorists are likely to be hit with further insurance price hikes over the coming months after the country’s insurers made a combined loss of more than €273m last year.
The multi-million euro losses are a further illustration of the ill-health of the sector which has come under greater scrutiny in recent months.
Earlier this month, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) launched a probe into anti-competitive practices in the motor insurance sector.
The investigation centres on potential price signalling by firms whereby competitors flag upcoming price hikes which can be followed by other insurers.
“Statements by senior industry players have raised serious suspicion as to whether there is a link between these messages and subsequent price increases.
“The evidence collected through both the witness summonses and the information requests will assist us in establishing whether there has been a breach of competition law,” CCPC chairperson Isolde Goggin said as she launched the probe.
Motor insurance premiums have surged more than 60% higher in the past two years.
A number contributory factors have been identified, including fraud, rising legal costs, higher settlements, and insurers’ under-provisioning in previous years.
New figures released by the Central Bank yesterday show that the industry is still heavily loss-making.
Of the 21 motor insurers operating in Ireland, the largest loss recorded last year was made by FBD.
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