Elderly hit hardest by insurance hikes, Age Action warns
older drivers are being hit by massive premium rises despite being safer drivers, TDs and senators have been told.
Surging costs for cover risks causing social isolation for older people, Age Action told the Oireachtas Finance Committee, which is probing premium rises.
Justin Moran of the organisation said: "Many older people are struggling to keep their cars on the road. Older people who are unable to drive face increased social isolation and must rely on friends or family for transport."
He said statistics from the CSO indicated drivers over the age of 60 made up 22pc of licence holders. But they received less than 10pc of the penalty points issued in 2013.
The organisation cited examples of older drivers facing up to 68pc increases in car insurance premiums despite never having had an accident or making a claim.
Meanwhile, a European Commissioner has suggested that the competition watchdog in this country should investigate the surge in motor insurance premiums.
All motor insurers have pushed up the cost of premiums, even though not all of them are losing money.
New EU Financial Services Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) here was well-placed to investigate why premiums had risen so much, and whether anti-competitive behaviour was at play.
He was responding to questioning from Dublin MEP Brian Hayes who called for a full probe into premium rate rises.
His comments came as new figures from the Central Statistics Office showed that motor premiums rose by 28pc in the year to August.
Although this is a sharp increase, it is down from the 38.6pc annual rise recorded by the CSO in July. The cost of premiums fell by almost 1pc in the month of August compared with the previous month.
A 28pc rise in a year means a policy that cost €500 last year is now €140 dearer.
Over the past three years motor premiums have gone up 68pc, a detailed breakdown of inflation figures provided by the CSO shows.
Mr Dombrovskis said: "Ireland's Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is well placed to explore whether premium increases in Ireland have been caused by anti-competitive behaviour or whether they have arisen for other reasons."
Mr Hayes said the market for motor insurance had become dysfunctional and called on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to investigate. A spokeswoman for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said it was examining a number of factors in the motor insurance market, including information provided through contacts from consumers.