Rising claims against drivers without insurance blamed for hikes

Motorists face the risk of more hikes in insurance premiums after the number of accident claims relating to uninsured and untraced drivers jumped by 17% so far this year.

Figures from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) confirm from January 1 to July 31, there were 1,644 claims relating to incidents involving non-insured or untraceable drivers. In the same period last year, a total of 1,409 cases had been lodged.

The largest number of claims were in the Dublin area which accounted for 42% of all uninsured or untraced driver claims. There were 688 claims in the capital, up 13% from 610 recorded in 2015. The next highest number of claims was in Cork which had 129 claims, up 16% from the 111 recorded in 2015. Galway came third with 92 claims, up 28% from the 72 claims in the corresponding period last year.

Over the first seven months of this year, claims increased in 20 counties in total, with the largest percentage change in Roscommon which recorded an increase of 500% as the number of claims rose from two to 12. The next highest percentage rises were in Longford (167%), Leitrim (167%) and Mayo (113%).

Just four counties experienced a decline in the number of claims. The largest drop was recorded in Limerick which had just 80 claims, down from 95. The largest percentage decline was in Waterford with the number of claims falling from 29 to 21, a decrease of 28%. The number of claims in Clare and Kildare was the same across both years.

The MIBI pays out approximately €60m a year, on average, for claims of this nature. It said the claims account for €35 of the cost of the average annual motor insurance premium. Commenting on the figures, chief executive of the MIBI David Fitzgerald said the increase was “significant” and would likely mean that already hard-pressed motorists will face higher premiums.

“An increase of 17% represents a significant jump in the number of claims being lodged. It showcases the increased pipeline of payments facing the MIBI. While no sums are yet attached to these claims, unfortunately, more claims generally means higher levels of payments coming from the MIBI and, ultimately, that will impact on motor insurance premiums,” he said.

Mr Fitzgerald said it was crucial the number of uninsured motorists on Irish roads was reduced.

“We are working with the Government, An Garda Síochána and other relevant agencies to help tackle this issue. These latest figures underline how important that objective is — not just for the MIBI, but for all drivers operating in this country who are concerned about their insurance costs,” he said.

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office show that car insurance premiums have jumped by almost 40% in the last year. Premiums, generally, have jumped by almost 70% in the last three years. The insurance sector is blaming the hikes in premiums on higher levels of claims, more people using the courts to seek compensation, and low levels of reserves in the industry.

In June, Fianna Fáil brought a motion before the Dáil calling for the introduction of practical measures such as the re-establishment of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board on a time-limited basis, greater disclosure around policy renewal notifications, action on the settlement of cases, and dealing with false and exaggerated claims.


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