Insurance companies are desperately trying to get us to pay more for our motor and home cover. Some insurers have already raised their premiums, with others threatening increases of up to 20pc.
Take Hibernian Aviva. The company recently noted a sharp rise in claims, with a 20pc increase in own damage claims -- where people damage their own cars -- and an increased number of cases going through the High Court.
The company's chief executive, Stuart Purdy, said consumers were set to face increases in motor premiums of 10pc to 15pc this year and increases on home insurance of up to 20pc.
And Quinn Direct, traditionally one of the most competitive operators in the general insurance market, confirmed recently that it has increased its private motor premiums.
Insurers have a range of reasons why premiums are set to rise. With a downturn you get more claims, especially fraudulent ones; lawyers, they say, are pursuing injuries claims with greater vigour; and investment returns have declined so greater profits have to be generated from higher premium.
Another important consideration is that the downturn is as likely to make people search out the best value insurance, as it is to add to insurers' costs from dodgy claims.
A recent report by Deloitte found that almost one-in-five drivers changed motor insurers last year. This trend is likely to accelerate with the arrival in this country of internet-based price comparison sites.
In Britain, two-thirds of motor insurance customers now research their purchase on a comparison site. These sites are starting to emerge in this market, and when they really get going, premiums will fall further.
So it is by no means inevitable that insurance claims will rise, to be followed by higher premiums.
Sorry, insurance companies, we consumers are not having it.
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