1 Introduction |
1. In March we published a report on the cost
of motor insurance which looked at the reasons for the very significant
increases in quoted premiums in recent years.
The AA calculated that the average of the lowest three quotes
from 90 providers (the 'shoparound' average) for comprehensive
cover increased by 39.3% in the year to October 2010. Our report
triggered a positive public reaction: we received numerous letters
from members of the public about their premiums and how their
claims were handled. During the last eight months there have been
a number of further developments which led us to hold a further
oral evidence session, on 11 October, and to publish this report.
We are grateful to our witnesses on 11 October and to the individuals
and organisations who volunteered further written evidence.
2. The main developments relating to the cost
of motor insurance since our last report can be summarised as
- Quoted premiums have continued
to rise, but more slowly than before. The AA's shoparound average
fell by 0.3% between the second and third quarters of 2011, although
the annual rate of increase remains well above inflation at 16.4%.
Quoted premiums for younger drivers continued to rise.
- Rt Hon Jack Straw MP introduced a bill to Parliament
under the ten minute rule procedure to ban the payment of referral
fees, establish new standards relating to the evidence required
and damages payable for whiplash, to reform the Pre-Action Protocol
for Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents, and to set
requirements in respect of risk pricing for personal injury claims.
- The Government brought forward legislation to
ban referral fees in personal injury cases, as part of the Legal
Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill which is now
in the House of Lords.
The Justice Committee welcomed the Government's
commitment to ban referral fees but said it did not believe the
ban should be limited to personal injury cases.
- The OFT issued a call for evidence to establish
the background to recent reports of rising UK private motor insurance
premiums and consider whether further work may be necessary to
improve the way the market works.
In addition, we received the Government reply to
our report, which we published in September.
3. As part of our continuing work in this area
we took up an offer from Young Marmalade, a firm specialising
in insurance for young drivers, to conduct a survey of their customers'
attitudes to young drivers. The full results and a summary of
the comments received can be found in the annex to this report.
The headline results were:
- 96% of young drivers think
they are being priced off the road because of high motor insurance
- 21% have considered driving without insurance,
because of the high cost of premiums.
- 30% have considered altering the information
they provided to insurance firms in order to secure a lower quote.
This included 15% who considered changing the main driver of the
cara potentially illegal practice known as 'fronting'.
- 57% were unaware that, after an accident, insurance
firms often pass personal details to a solicitor, car hire firm
or garage in return for a referral fee.
4. In this report we comment on events relating
to motor insurance since March and review how policy is developing
in the areas we identified as contributing to higher premiums.
1 The cost of motor insurance, Fourth Report,
Session 2010-12, HC 591 (hereafter CMI first report). Back
Ev 19. Back
HC Deb, 13 Sep 11 cc 898-98. Back
See HC Deb, 1 Nov 11, cc 822-50. Back
Referral fees and the theft of personal data: evidence from
the Information Commissioner, Ninth Report, Session 2010-12,
HC 1473, paragraphs 10-14. Back
OFT press release, 8 September 2011. Back
Fifth Special Report, 2010-12, HC 1466 (hereafter Government