In 2009 there were 2,955 traffic collisions involving material damage on Cork’s roads but new figures released by the Central Bank last week reveal a significant overall reduction in the number and expense of motor insurance claims cost. Infrastructure improvements and a noticeably more cautious motoring public are having a positive impact on the level of accidents on our roads and the resulting cost of insurance claims, according to motor insurance experts www.getcover.ie. The new figures show that in 2009 the average cost, measured on a per claim basis, decreased by 25 per cent, to €4,218, for comprehensive cover and by 32 per cent, to €5,391, for third party fire and theft cover between 2002 and 2009.
According to Jessie O Connor, motor insurance specialist from Getcover.ie, “There are 302,000 registered motor vehicles in Cork and according to the Central Banks new figures, overall accident frequency in 2009 reduced from 8.6 to 7.8 accidents per 100 policies for comprehensive cover, and from 6.5 to 5.9 for third party fire and theft cover. While this reduction in frequency is in part the reason for the reduction in claim costs, we believe that improvements in the levels of social responsibility are probably the key factor”.
Jessie continued, “Road safety would appear to affect not just the frequency but the severity of accidents. This is due to a number of factors – the average road user is better educated on the perils associated with drink driving, speeding and mobile phone use. The introduction of penalty points has also had a positive effect on the caution people take when driving. The standard of roads throughout the country has improved – this coupled with NCT testing and Government scrappage deals also play a significant part”.
The Central Bank’s data also shows that the average national premium for female and male policyholders in 2009 was €479 and €593, respectively, about a 24 per cent differential. The insurance experts content that while it has been the case that male drivers are seen as higher risk than female drivers and therefore have been issued higher premium costs, from December 2012 there will be an equalization for male and female drivers in the insurance industry. This is due to the EU gender directive, which states that the use of sex as a factor in calculating premiums should not result in differences in prices or benefits to an individual.
Jessie concluded, “The Central Bank figures are encouraging as they demonstrate clearly that as road users become more cautious, claims, when they occur, tend to be less serious”.