[Sinn Fein]

20th April 2002

Government must provide affordable car insurance to all

Sinn Fein representative for Dublin South Central Aengus Ó Snodaigh has called on the government to establish a State car insurance corporation to ensure that car insurance is affordable and available to every resident in the State regardless of age, sex or marital status.

Mr. Ó Snodaigh said:

``The practice of Commercial Insurers only insuring those they deem to be almost risk free or imposing exhorbitant premiums on young drivers is unacceptable. This practice only encourages people to drive without insurance thereby becoming a liability on the state if involved in a serious accident where an injured party has to sue the state to be compensated. An AA report last year showed huge differentials in how premiums were calculated for all drivers while another survey showed some companies giving different quotes to phone customers than those who made Internet queries. It all points to a market hugely exploiting its customers.

``The State should take car insurance out of the private sector and establish its own Insurance Corporation modelled on existing State Companies in North America and New Zealand. These companies have proved their viability and actually contribute to better road safety through involvement in every aspect of road awareness projects.

``In setting premiums they do not discriminate on the basis of age, sex or marital status and teenage children can be added to their parents insurance normally at no extra cost. They also offer extra discounts for senior citizens with clean driving records.

``There are other problems that must also be tackled such as better funded road safety initiatives, reducing the 380,000 provisional drivers on our roads and reforming the courts and legal system dealing with compensation claims. However it is unacceptable that young people are being discriminated against when it comes to car insurance thereby forcing many of them to become uninsured drivers and an even bigger threat to other road users.''

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