Commission investigating rise in premiums summons motor insurance firms to give evidence

Update 6.05pm: Insurance Ireland says it has received a witness summons from the Commission relating to its investigation.

It says it will comply with the witness summons and will co-operate fully with the investigation.

The firm says it is fully satisfied that it has no issue in relation to competitive practice and is confident that this will be confirmed through this process.

FBD Insurance has welcomed the investigation, saying they believe there are many factors that influence motor insurance costs in Ireland.

They said: “One of the main factors is the relatively high cost of bodily injury awards. These awards and associated legal costs are significantly higher than in other EU jurisdictions.

“We believe Irish awards should be benchmarked against other countries.

“In addition, we continue to call for increased powers for the Personal Injuries Assessment Board as a key stakeholder in creating an efficient and cost effective claims process for injured parties.”

Earlier: The competition commission has launched an investigation into pricing in the insurance market.

A number of companies and brokers have been issued with requests for information and witness summonses.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) issued witness summonses and information requests to major motor insurance providers and industry groups representing insurers and brokers today.

It comes as figures show the cost of motor insurance has risen by more than a third in just 12 months.

The average cost of car insurance has now reportedly reached €900 a year.

The CCPC said their investigation relates to insurers “openly signalling up-coming increases” in motor insurance premiums.

Isolde Goggin, CCPC Chairperson, said: “Markets work best where businesses vigorously and independently compete against each other for customers.

“Statements signalling future pricing predictions or intentions may result in a degree of unspoken coordination, which may breach competition law.

“Statements by senior industry players have raised serious suspicion as to whether there is a link between these messages and subsequent price increases.”

She said the evidence collected will help them to establish whether there has been a breach of competition law.

She said: “We know from our contacts with consumers that the sharp rise in motor insurance premiums has had a significant impact on them. We continue to closely monitor developments and will, if necessary, take action to stop specific anti-competitive practices in the motor insurance sector.”

If anyone believes they have evidence of a breach of competition law in the motor insurance sector, they can contact the CCPC.

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