Motorists could face double digit hikes in their car insurance premiums in the coming months, experts have warned. BY EMMA KENNEDY
The head of Insurance Ireland, the representative body for the insurance sector, has predicted that insurance premiums will increase in 2015 as the economy improves.
Kevin Thompson, Insurance Ireland's chief executive, said an anticipated increase in economic activity in the year ahead will likely result in increased claims and "have the potential to harden insurance premium rates".
According to Jonathan Hehir, managing director of Coverinaclick.ie, there was an expectation in the insurance industry that motor insurance premiums would increase in 2015. He predicted that motorists would see double digit price increases in the year ahead, and warned that young drivers would likely be hardest hit.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the cost of motor insurance has already jumped by 11.4 per cent in the last year.
Simon Moynihan, communications director and cofounder of price comparison and switching serviceBonkers.ie, said that there had been some warning signs in the last few months of the price hikes ahead.
"We have been receiving hints throughout 2014, with profit and claims warnings from the insurance companies regularly hitting the news," he said.
Figures from Insurance Ireland indicate that insurers have taken a hit on motor insurance in recent years, with an industry-wide under-writing loss of €254 million on motor insurance in 2013.
However, Moynihan said that increased premiums should not be "blindly paid" by insurance customers.
"Consumers can query them with their insurer, obtain quotes from other provider sand often reduce the cost of car and home insurance with a few phone calls," he said.
"It's the active consumer that saves, while those that do nothing pay an unnecessary premium."