Despite his mode of transport, Shanks Mare Cllr Noel Collins was among a number of public representatives to call for Insurance reform this week. The Independent Cllr told the January Sitting of Cork County Council that the Government needs to give people a fairer opportunity to put their car on the road, and keep it there.
Cllr Collins said he is inundated with correspondence from constituents concerned over the continuing increase in insurance costs. He said that high insurance, coupled with an extremely high dependency on the car in rural areas, is pushing people off the roads into isolation.
A recent study carried out by AA Car Insurance found that 1 in 3 motorists had seen a drop in premium, with 1 in 5 contemplating ditching the car because of Insurance Premium costs. The decrease, for some, is no reason for optimism coming after years of price hikes, Cllr Collins said.
“The consumer price index has revealed that many Insurance policies soared by 70% between 2013 and 2016, which puts in perspective a 13% fall between 2013 and 2018.”
“Of the tens of thousands who were forced out of the country to find work, many are priced out of returning because of the sky high costs.”
“It’s also unfair to drivers in their 20s being given astronomical insurance quotations with premiums very often surpassing the value of their car” he said as he called for the Government to intervene.
While Cllr Collins called for a reduction in car insurance premiums for young and old, including returning emigrants, Cllr Paul Hayes calls on Government to accelerate its Insurance Reform Programme. The West Cork based Cllr is also seeking the establishment of an Insurance Fraud Unit within an Garda Siochána, and the creation of an interim Judicial Council to address expensive awards made in Court. He said the high premiums were undermining the great work being done by the Council supporting festivals and events around the county. “If people have a history of claims and insurance pay-outs, that should be available to the Courts because people are either very, very unlucky or making an absolute killing out of multiple claims.”
County Mayor, Patrick Gerard Murphy said that in his opinion “some of the decisions being made by Courts are ridiculous”
Fianna Fail Cllr Ian Doyle said “The spiralling cost of insurance is just prohibitive at the moment, causing St Patrick’s Day Parades and Tidy Towns organisations to fold because they cannot ensure proper funding in terms of insurance.”
A letter is to be issued to Government outlining the Cllrs concerns.