Woes for insurers and NI drivers alike


It doesn’t matter if you’re one of the biggest car insurance companies in the UK or you’re just a lowly motorist from NI – sometimes there’s just no way to win.

So much for a Christmas present for shareholders of Admiral Group this year; it turns out that the stock price of one of the largest motor car insurance providers in the UK plummeted after the Competition Commission revealed last week that insurers are driving up prices for their customers by inflating car hire and repair costs. The news just got even worse, considering that the industry watchdog is currently mulling over whether it’s going to insist on some rather drastic reforms to get the car insurance sector on the straight and narrow – and investors responded to the news by dumping enough stock to take a nosedive. While it did recover throughout the week, it was still a major bump in the road for the insurer.

So yes, there are at least some serious repercussions from that report from the commission. Meanwhile, life goes on for insurance customers and motorists in the UK, and nowhere is it worse for them than in Northern Ireland. NI’s Consumer Council this week urged local residents to do their best to shop around not just for petrol and diesel fuel but for car insurance as well, based on the fact that residents pay an absolute bloody premium for both petrol and insurance.

And this is exactly why we need the Competition Commission to step in and change things as far as the insurance market is concerned. If you ask me, there’s no way the industry itself will regulate itself, especially not when all these companies are in business to make a profit; you need to have an outside source ensure that everyone’s playing fair and that’s simply not happening. Until this does indeed happen, we’ll have instances like in Northern Ireland, where motorists are being urged to shop around as much as they can.

I can only hope that the Competition Commission positively throws the figurative book at the insurance industry. Let’s get some regulation in there to make sure we’re not all paying through the nose on overpriced replacement vehicles and substandard repair work!

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