Quinn-direct has confirmed the policy has been implemented in the last fortnight due to a “very poor claims experience” in the targeted communities.
The major insurance firm refused to provide a detailed list of the affected areas as the information “is commercially sensitive”.
However, it is understood the communities – which are known to include Tallaght and Clondalkin in Dublin – are scattered across the country with a particular focus on deprived urban areas in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford.
In a statement to the Irish Examiner, a spokesperson for the company said the deliberate discrimination was “common practice” in the insurance industry.
“Insurers do not quote for particular risks if the claims experience is very poor.
“There are a very small number of geographical areas in the country that Quinn-direct currently does not quote for motor insurance new business, less than 1% of areas in Ireland, as recent claims experience in these areas is extremely poor,” said the spokesperson.
She added that “if the situation improved Quinn-direct would resume quoting for new business”.
Labour equality spokesperson Kathleen Lynch said the move amounted to “cherry-picking” clients.
“Quinn-direct in the guise of BUPA in the health insurance market said they would not introduce a policy of cherry-picking, but that isn’t the example here.
“If you live in a certain area you pay a higher premium, that’s what insurance is. You don’t get banned, and this is certainly an issue for the Equality Authority to examine,” she said.