I know it's been a while since I've written or posted anything of substance. I wish I could say I've been working constantly behind the scenes to try to get your insurance premiums down, but the truth is I've just been too busy to keep up the amount of lobbying and media interviews that I had been doing.
At this point I think I've done all I can do as an individual short of running for election (don't expect to see that happening any time soon!). What I have been doing though, is keeping an eye on how things are progressing. It's been jut over 12 months since I sat in front of the Dáil committee giving them my two cents and, it seems, things are moving in the right direction. I've been stopped on the street a number of times now by people who tell me their premiums have come down since I started banging on about it. The CSO figures on premium prices are also encouraging, showing them going in the right direction.
I know from the many Facebook comments that not all of you have felt the strain easing yet, but you will soon I promise. In the meantime, you can help. There's only so much lobbying of politicians I can do on my own. So I'm reaching out to all of you to ask you to send emails either to your local TD or the minister of state Michael D'Arcy. You may not think it, but every email that lands in the inbox of our politicians grabs their attention at some stage, and the more they see coming in about motor insurance, the more seriously they take it. If we can keep the pressure up, especially in the run up to the budget, then we can make sure it is seen as a priority. Below I have pasted an email I recently wrote to Deputy D'Arcy, feel free to copy it for your own purposes.
I hope this email finds you well.
Last year, I sat in front of an oireachtes committee which was looking into the price rise in motor insurance. I corresponded with your predecessor a number of times on the matter also. I am writing to you today on behalf of those whom I represent, young drivers.
As you may be aware, I have been campaigning for a while now to try keep the spotlight on the issue of high insurance costs. I have met with various stakeholders, from the CEO of insurance Ireland to various industry lobbyists, journalists and politicians. What I can gather from the contrasting pieces of information is that the industry is, to put it mildly, a mess. I wonder, minister, if the effort it would take to try get the market back on track would be worth it?
My own personal opinion is this, and you can take it or leave it as you please. Motor insurance is a legal requirement as set by the government but it is run by private businesses. I believe this is a conflict of interest, so to speak. I believe this is a recipe for disaster, I believe it needs to be overhauled completely. The Government is there to represent and protect the people of Ireland. Private industry is there to exploit them, for want of a better word. (I should point out at this stage that I have no problem with private industry and I don't make the following suggestion to spite them).
I would propose that our Republic changes the system of insurance to a model such as they operate in New Zealand, a "no fault universal insurance". The details are more complicated I'm sure, but the general idea is that third party liability is covered through general taxation. This removes the legal requirement for people to purchase insurance. They can, f course, still go to private companies for more extensive cover should they wish. Now, I'm no fool, I'm sure this system has it's drawbacks. Does it, for example, take responsibility for poor driving away from those behind the wheel? Would people be more careless on the road knowing they don't have to worry about increased premiums if they have an accident?
These are questions which need to be asked and answered. Unfortunately I don't have the time or resources to research this myself, but I believe this radical change is something worth looking into. I hope it is something you may devote some time to, for the benefit of all drivers here.
If I can ever be of assistance, feel free to reach out.