Motor insurance to drop as Axa cuts rates
MOTORISTS can look forward to driving away with a better deal on car insurance after one of the largest players in the market confirmed it was slashing its rates.
Axa Insurance said it was cutting as much as 20pc off the premiums on some categories of insurance in a move to match competition from rivals.
The company, which is one of the country's largest players in motor insurance, said it was cutting its prices by 20pc for drivers between the ages of 25 and 29, and by 10pc for 17 to 24-year-olds.
Anyone whose spouse is also insured with the company will see their rates drop by 10pc.
Last night, the company admitted it was responding to low-cost operator Quinn-Direct, run by Sean Quinn, which has driven down the cost of insurance over the past few years.
Financial experts were taken aback by the dramatic move by Axa to reduce its rates so much, as premiums have fallen by around 40pc since early 2003. Up to now, Axa had resisted chopping its rates, emphasising instead the importance of providing good service.
Axa marketing and communications manager Alistair Weir said, although the reduced rates would only be on offer until February 29, the company was anxious to match its competition on price.
"Motor insurance rates have been dropping every year for the past few years. Sean Quinn has been driving down rates to the point where they are now rock bottom.
"Rates came down last year and we responded to the other players and they, in turn, responded to us."
Analyst Scott Rankin of Davy Stockbrokers said other insurers were now likely to respond with further cuts. Insurance brokers said yesterday that they welcomed lower insurance rates but complained that lower premiums mean that their commissions would be hit.