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04th Jul 2017

Car insurers reportedly raided by competition watchdog

It came amidst allegations of price-fixing.

Tony Cuddihy

The companies have faced allegations of price fixing, with consumers reporting a sharp rise in their car insurance premiums.

The Irish Independent is reporting that a number of Irish insurance providers were raided by officers from the State’s competition watchdog on Tuesday morning.

The newspaper adds that Insurance Ireland, the representative body for the insurance industry in this country, was included in the raid.

Tuesday morning’s action comes after a ten-month-long investigation into reports that industry insiders are openly signalling increases in motor insurance premiums within the State.

With motor insurance costs increasing by 60%, and more in some cases, in the last three years a probe was launched by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission at the end of 2016.

Isolde Goggin, chairperson of the CCPC, said last September that she intended to crack down on any alleged breaches of competition law in Ireland.

Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson, welcomed Tuesday morning’s developments: “I welcome news this morning of raids being carried out by Competition Enforcement officials investigating possible cartel behaviour. This is good news for consumers that concerns I have voiced for some time about cartelism now are being taken seriously.

“The dramatic spikes in insurance prices across the board, and the fact that the Central Bank has accused the insurers of providing false information to it, point to sound grounds for investigation.  The industry has been warned before about price signalling.

“The news this morning will offer hope to drivers and others reliant on insurance that there is some protection for them even if it is coming very late in the day.”

A spokesperson for the CCPC refused to comment on Tuesday morning’s reports.

Insurance Ireland said a statement would be issued later in the day.

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