Sunday 18 February 2018

Whiplash claims adding €130 to bills for drivers, says Aviva

Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath Photo: Collins
Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath Photo: Collins
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Thousands of claims for whiplash are adding €130 to the cost of the average motor premium, leading insurer Aviva said.

The figure for the cost of whiplash came as Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath claimed the Government's response to the motor insurance crisis has been inadequate.

Aviva has written to its customers setting out its analysis on why premiums are rising so sharply. Motor premiums are up 70pc in the past three years, after shooting up by 38pc in the last year.

The rise in motor insurance costs means a premium that was €500 last year will now be around €190 dearer.

Aviva told its customers that eight out of 10 motor injury claims were for whiplash. This compares with just 3pc in France. "This adds on average €130 to the cost of your motor premium," the insurer said.

The insurer said excessive and inconsistent court awards, high legal costs and inadequate regulation were to blame for the surge in the cost of premiums.

Aviva said court awards for injury claims were up 34pc between 2013 and 2014. It said 60pc of the costs of cases settled through the courts are for legal fees. It added that Quinn Insurance was allowed to trade recklessly, and its collapse will now cost the public more than €1bn through the levy on all general insurance policies.

Aviva's leaflet said the lack of action in tackling the causes of higher premiums was "a national concern and it is not acceptable".

Mr McGrath said motor insurance premium hikes were out of control. He called on the Government to accelerate the work of the task force established in July in an effort to get to grips with the problem, saying: "The blame game is in full swing. Aviva has written to customers setting out its analysis as to why premiums are increasing at the current crazy rate.

"We have a situation where all the stakeholders are blaming each other for premium hikes but it begs the question, who is looking after the interests of consumers in all of this?"

Premiums look set to keep rising, despite some in the insurance industry arguing that rates are close to peaking.

Irish Independent

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