Wednesday 26 October 2016

'It's naked hijacking' - Mattie McGrath compares insurance companies to 'terrorists'

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

Published 09/06/2016 | 13:36

Mattie McGrath Photo: Arthur Carron
Mattie McGrath Photo: Arthur Carron

MATTIE McGrath has said insurance companies are like “terrorists” that are “marauding businesses and ordinary people” with rising premiums.

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The Independent TD made the remarks in a Dáil debate on Fianna Fáil’s motion calling for a task force to tackle spiralling motor insurance costs. 

Mr Grath branded secret court settlements and resulting premium rises as “naked hijacking”.

“If terrorists were doing it there’d be an outcry and we’d have the CAB after them,” he added.

“This is marauding businesses and ordinary people… and they’re doing it with the full powers of the laws behind them because there’s no laws.”

He said there have only been “feeble attempts” to address the issue.

Mr McGrath told the Dáil chamber that his own business has been the victim of out of secret court settlements over the years.

He claimed insurance companies are “doing what they like, when they like and charge what they like.”

He said the issue of secret out of court settlements must be addressed adding that he has faced rising premiums after such arrangements.

“You know you make strenuous efforts – many engagements and many days out at court and you think that there’s a proper meaningful defence and the next thing you get a phone call – oh they have it settled and you mightened even be told that it was settled.

“It was settled on the steps of the court and the person paying the insurance who’s an interested party might not even be notified.

"But you’ll know when you get your premium back because it’s fairly well hijacked and put up because of the claim,” Mr McGrath said.

He said there needs to be “a root and branch review” of what motivates insurance companies.

Mr McGrath said insurance costs at his own business went up 40pc and that “no business can plan for that”.

He called for legislation that will “put some bit of manners on the insurance companies”.

The Dáil this afternoon passed the Fianna Fáil motion along with an amendment from Sinn Féin.

Fianna Fáil Fiance spokesman Michael McGrath has welcomed the passing of the motion tackling soaring motor insurance premiums.

It calls for 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.

“Following the success of this motion we will use every forum available in the Dáil to press the various Government departments to take the action demanded by the Oireachtas, Michael McGrath said.

“The onus is now on the Ministers for Finance and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to give effect to the will of the Dáil on this issue and ensure that motorists get a well-deserved break from seemingly relentless increases in motor insurance premiums," he added.

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