‘Competition commission must act swiftly on car insurance’ – Ritchie

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Friday, June 1st, 2012
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has welcomed the findings of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) who have provisionally decided to refer the private motor insurance market to the Competition Commission. Ritchie was speaking following a report published this week by the OFT which found evidence that insurers compete in a dysfunctional way that may push up premiums for drivers by £225 million a year. She said: “I welcome the findings of the OFT that the private motor insurance market and its practices must be referred to the Competition Commission. This report clearly demonstrates that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there are features of the private motor insurance market that prevent, restrict or distort competition. It is vital that the Competition Commission act swiftly and make a judgment on these practices as soon as possible.” “I believe the car insurance market would work better if insurers competed primarily on the quality and value of the service each provides to insured drivers, rather than focusing on gaining the competitive edge through raising rival insurers’ costs and increasing their own revenues.” Ritchie continued, “My party colleague, the Environment Minister Alex Attwood recently announced plans which will reduce insurance premiums for motorists living in Northern Ireland. I welcome his comments that engaging in effective road safety initiatives and challenging why insurance premiums are 11% higher in the region should lead to the reduction of insurance premiums by the British Insurers Association.” “At the end of last year I held a debate in the House of Commons emphasising the pressing need to reduce car insurance premiums in Northern Ireland which have increased by almost 73% in the past two years. I will continue to press for a thorough investigation by the Competition Commission and promote any recommendations which will bring down the cost of insurance for our motorists,” she added.
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