Industry rapped for petrol stretching claims

The insurance industry has come in for criticism from TDs and senators for refusing to pay out to policy holders who have had their cars damaged by petrol stretching.

Yesterday Kevin Thompson, CEO of industry body Insurance Ireland, told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications that its members had paid out on 600 claims relating to damage caused by petrol stretching, with a further 250 claims in the pipeline.

He told the committee that such claims would only be covered by comprehensive insurance policies and that in some cases, those who have claim protection on their policies would not necessarily lose their No Claims Bonus for claiming against petrol stretching damage.

However Senator Paschal Mooney (FF) and TDs Timmy Dooley (FF) and Michael Fitzmaurice (Ind) told Mr Thompson they were all aware of cases where their constituents were denied a payout on their policy.

Mr Fitzmaurice said he had examples whereby people were “sneakily done out of money” because of the small print on their policy paperwork.

“I have dealt with cases where people with comprehensive insurance, who genuinely thought they were covered for everything, today are left with bills that they cannot afford. I think we need to look at the whole insurance industry,” Mr Fitzmaurice said.

“In good faith there are people, especially in the west of Ireland, who have lost two cars and cannot afford to repair them. I think, for the insurance industry, it is disgusting the way that they have handled it.”

The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD said that it is impossible for motorists to get compensation from the petrol supplier.

“Cars go from filling station to filling station. We talk about taking people to court, you have to be able to prove every single drop of petrol, where you got it. It’s nearly a non-runner. Let’s face up to these facts,” he said.

Mr Thompson said that the figures he had supplied to the committee were correct, but that he would send on statistics regarding the number of claims relating to petrol stretching that were declined.


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