The warning came from the Automobile Association as it appeared before the joint Oireachtas committee on finance, public expenditure and reform, and Taoiseach.
AA director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan said further hikes are likely “unless action is taken”.
He said while the car market, in terms of sales, is increasing in Ireland, very few insurers are looking to enter.
He said this is due to the failure of Setanta Insurance and the fact that other companies’ insurers are held liable for its outstanding claims. However, he also said “murky data” and the lack of “clear information around claims costs” is also part of the problem.
Kian Griffin of Ireland Underground, a group representing Ireland’s younger drivers, called for more clarity on what is included in a motor insurance premium: “There seems to be no consistency in the pricing. People want clarity, they want to see exactly what they are paying for. I believe it is only fair that when someone is offered a premium, that premium should be broken down and shown clearly to the customer.”
The head of advocacy and communications with Age Action, Justin Moran, said older people are being faced with “astonishing increases” in premiums despite being the safest drivers on the road.
“Some of the premiums quoted to our members come to twice the weekly pension and many older drivers are struggling to keep their cars on the road,” he said.
Dermott Jewell of the Consumer Association of Ireland said his organisation has been raising the issue of rising insurance premiums since 2014.
“We were reminded [by the Government] how the Consumer and Competition Protection Commission 2015 Motor Insurance Comparison Research highlighted the ‘significant variations that exist in motor premiums’. Shopping around was viewed as the answer.
“That, in our opinion, is no longer the case and, in addition, it misses the point of our concern for what the market currently reflects and provides,” he said.