Minister being misled by insurance companies regarding tracking devices

Junior minister for finance Michael D'Arcy has recently been quoted as saying that young drivers should have tracking devices installed in their cars to help reduce premiums by 50%. According to the minister, young drivers are "choosing to pay a higher premium" rather than use telematic devices on their vehicle.

This information is presumably being supplied to the minister from the insurance companies, however, the facts on the ground appear to directly contradict this. In a single post on our Facebook page we have shown numerous instances of these devices either making no difference to premiums at all, or being too inconsistent to be reliable. Short journeys are not accepted for many companies, others threaten you with cancellation of your policy if you do not meet their minimum mileage requirements, others still charge you more if you go over their maximum mileage allowed.

To say that young drivers are "refusing" to use this technology is grossly unfair and naive on the ministers part.

"Tracking devices will not change the extortionate rates young drivers are charged, regulation will", according to Sinn Fein Councillor, Toireasa Ferris.

Councillor Ferris insists that the ministers efforts would be better used "establishing a mutual insurance fund or regulating the private insurance sector".

Despite CSO statistics showing the average cost of motor insurance declining in the last 12-18 months, many individuals, particularly younger drivers are still paying sky-high premiums and struggling to get on the road. It is particularly difficult for those in rural areas where public transport is not an option.

The department of finance has been dragging its feet on this matter for far too long, it has had numerous submissions over the last 2 years with various options for tackling the extortionate cost of insurance. It has long since past crisis point. The private insurance sector itself has had many opportunities to correct itself and still refuses to do so. Perhaps it is time for Ireland to look at an altogether different system of insurance. A no-fault system, much like New Zealand, has often been mentioned but not fully analysed by the department. It may be that such a radical change is beyond this current government, it would almost certainly upset the interest of the companies involved in the sector. It would likely, however, be of benefit to the people.

Leaving aside the above, for the minister to suggest that these devices become mandatory for young drivers in the future is particularly worrying in the current climate given the significant data breaches that have occurred of late. Insurance companies already garner little trust from the general public given their lack of transparency and cartel-like behaviour. There is nothing to suggest that they can be trusted to store the data they gather in a responsible way. If nothing else, it would be a major breach of our right to privacy to force these devices on us.


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