Insurer will pay you €100 if rival offers cheaper cover
A LEADING insurer is promising to pay homeowners €100 if they can find a better insurance quote for their buildings and contents cover.
The promotion, which will up the ante in the market, comes as a breakdown of the latest inflation figures from the Central Statistics Office shows that home insurance premiums fell by 6pc in the year to February as intense competition has put a cap on premium rises.
Insurer 123.ie, which is part of RSA Insurance, has promised to pay €100 to homeowners and landlords if they get a quote from the company that is higher than their existing insurer.
The insurer is attempting to win back customers after its owner RSA was hit by an investigation that found financial irregularities at its Dublin headquarters. This cost its British parent group £200m (€240m).
The financial scandal emerged after RSA said it was pushing up motor insurance premiums here, prompting market commentators to say that this could mean consumers opting for other companies.
Head of 123.ie Padraig O'Neill said his company would pay out the €100 to any new customers who get a quote from his company that is higher than their existing premium, once they take a policy out with 123.ie.
"The only strings attached is that the comparison quote from their existing insurer must be a quote that gives identical or better cover to the 123.ie buildings and contents cover and you'll need to provide proof of your renewal offer."
Insurance experts said the move was welcome given the dire warnings about premiums rising in the coming months after storm damage last month caused an upsurge in claims.
The cost of the February storms alone in private claims would probably come in at close to €130m, insurance experts have calculated.
Last week, Irish-owned insurer FBD said a rise in the cost of home and motor insurance this year was inevitable.
One of the country's biggest insurers, FBD said both types of cover had become too competitive and could not be sustained at current low prices.
But the need for higher premiums has been questioned by the Injuries Board, the state body that administers the payment of personal injury claims.
Head of the Injuries Board Patricia Byron said recently that there was no increase in the number of accidents last year, despite a rise in the value of the awards given out.
A total of €243.5m was paid out in awards, a rise of almost 12pc on the total value of awards made in 2012, the Injuries Board said.