Motor insurers told rebates do not breach competition rules

Insurance Ireland was advised by lawyers in Arthur Cox last week that a move by member companies to sign up to providing premium reliefs for motor customers adhered to competition rules, as the industry bowed to Government pressure.

The industry body announced last Friday that leading motor coverage providers Allianz, Axa, FBD, RSA and Zurich had agreed to pass on “appropriate financial supports” to customers. Axa and Liberty Insurance have since announced rebate plans for customers, with more expected to follow suit in the coming days.

The moves come as the Covid-19 crisis has left considerably fewer vehicles on the road and, consequentially, caused fewer claims. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe had pressed Insurance Ireland on April 17th that there was a “strong case” for refunds from the industry, as motor coverage had been a “very profitable” business line over the past 12 months.

“Last week Insurance Ireland announced premium supports for motor customers as part of the sector’s latest response to the Covid-19 crisis,” a spokesman for the lobby group said. “In developing the broad set of principles to inform this initiative, Insurance Ireland obtained comprehensive legal advice to ensure full compliance with competition policies.”

The organisation is known to have taken its legal advice from Arthur Cox. A spokesman for the corporate law firm declined to comment.



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