Politicians in Northern Ireland are trying to address the disproportionately high cost of car insurance in the Province after it was revealed that Northern Irish drivers pay on average £300 more than their counterparts on the UK mainland.
A BBC Newsbeat report says that the traditional reasons for NI costs being higher are twofold. Originally it was the case that personal injury claims attracted a higher sum of compensation due to the fact that the awards were determined by juries and not a judge sitting in a small claims court, making them higher. This, in turn, had the knock-on effect of scaring away insurers, meaning that there was little competition for those companies that did offer their products. With a limited market, they were able to command huge premiums.
These days, however, it is no longer the case that compensation is determined by a jury, so premium prices relative to the rest of the UK should have fallen.
Northern Ireland Consumer Council spokesman Aodhan O’Donnell thinks enough is enough:
“We need to look at why the market isn’t more open and why there’s not more players in it which could offer more choice and competition for consumers.
“We also need to look at what level compensation and personal injury claims are being paid out at. So we need an investigation into the legal process too.”
Source: BBC News
Date Published: July 6, 2011
Author: David Brown