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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Motor insurance premiums at record high after rising 8% in the last year

The average motor insurance premium in the UK is now at £462, signalling an 8% rise since the first quarter of 2016, according to findings by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Pressure on insurers to increase premiums ©Shutterstock
Pressure on insurers to increase premiums ©Shutterstock

This is the highest level that premiums have been at since the association started collecting data in 2012, and the first time that prices have not fallen in comparison to the final quarter of a previous year.

Although this is thought to be partly due to a spike in new car registrations in the first quarter of this year, cost pressures are expected to continue unless government reforms are put in place.

“Despite rising costs, insurers are doing all they can to ensure that motorists get the most competitive deals possible,” ABI assistant director, Rob Cummings, said.

“The industry can only do so much though, and it is important that whichever party is in government after the election, that they commit to measures to help lower the cost of car insurance.”

The government cut the discount rate used to calculate compensation awards for serious personal injuries in March earlier this year – which is estimated to cost insurers £3bn.

Reviewing this decision, along with freezing the insurance premium tax, are what the ABI are currently urging the government to focus on, with the latter set to rise from 10% to 12% on 1 June.

In addition, with many insurers choosing to reinsure against large risks, it is thought that existing reinsurance contracts will have absorbed some of the impact of recent changes so far.

However, with reinsurance renewals due in early July, or at the beginning of 2018, it is thought insurers will incur additional costs when that reinsurance is renewed due to the size of the discount rate cost impact.

These costs are likely to be passed on to customers, with rises in whiplash-related claims and repair bills all expected to add further pressure on insurers to increase premiums.

“Whatever the outcome, the new government must push ahead with reforms to tackle low-value whiplash-related claims and introduce urgent reforms to change the framework for setting the discount rate,” Cummings added.

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