State backed body could offer solution to insurance crisis in Longford

liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Minister Shane Ross

Minister for Transport, Shane Ross

Transport Minister Shane Ross is coming under heightened pressure locally this week to step in over the county’s ever intensifying car insurance crisis.

There have been fresh calls for a new State backed body to be introduced amid concerns a growing cohort of young drivers are being put off the road by soaring premiums.
Independent Cllr and chair of Longford County Council’s Joint Policing Committee, Cllr Gerry Warnock said the time for talking is over.
“It’s certainly a sign of the times we are now in,” he frankly remarked as he highlighted the difficult position gardaí were in to try and enforce present day legislation.
Cllr Warnock alternatively switched his ire to the “cartel like fashion” certain insurance firms were now resorting to in a bid to maximise profits.
Last month insurance companies, brokers and representative bodies for the industry were raided as part of a probe into alleged price fixing in the motor insurance industry.
That investigation together with the local authority employee’s remarks follow the publication this week by the Leader of previously unseen court service documents.
Closer inspection of those findings reveal that since 2014 an average of 22 people each month are being prosecuted in Longford for no insurance.
And in strikingly similar recent remarks to those made by District Court Judge Seamus Hughes, Cllr Warnock said a spiralling “claims culture” was prompting extortionate car insurance premiums.
“What a number of them (insurance companies) are doing is they are trying to mitigate their losses over the last decade,” he said, while also hitting out at the lack of government action on the issue.
“In my opinion, the Government should have been front and centre in terms of trying to combat this (premium hikes) but they don't seem to have done a hell of a lot to bring these insurance companies to heel.”
Cllr Warnock said one possible remedy to the crisis could lie in the establishment of a government approved agency to oversee how insurance premiums are appropriated.
“Why not set up a State sponsored insurance body to try and drive down the price of premiums?” Cllr Warnock asked.
“That would certainly be one way of putting it up to insurance companies.”