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Cut and refund car premiums during coronavirus crisis, Alliance tells insurers

Andrew Muir

Car insurance providers have been urged to review and refund premiums as the coronavirus crisis keeps cars off the roads.

Alliance finance and infrastructure spokesman Andrew Muir said it was disappointing not all firms had made the move, which is being considered in a number of countries.

He said also revealed that Alliance had written to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) calling for action.

"This is a tough financial time for so many and anything that can be done to alleviate that pressure should be pursued," the North Down MLA added.

"It's clear that with only essential travel permitted, the number of journeys has drastically reduced and the risk has consequentially declined. Those customers who find themselves shielding as instructed may only need to retain certain elements of their policy.

"Neither of these scenarios matches the current premiums being paid, with some companies currently pocketing the savings.

"That's why we've written to the ABI calling for urgent clarification or guidance on how a uniform approach can be put in place.

"We are all in this together, but in playing our part, in staying home to save lives, we must do so in the confidence that everything possible to protect our financial future is being done."

The ABI said insurers were being as flexible as possible in unprecedented times.

"Motor insurers have agreed to cover, free of charge, all key workers who need to start commuting if public transport is not available or who need travel to different locations," a spokesman for the association added.

"Insurers have also extended cover for anyone using their own car for voluntary purposes, including all NHS volunteer responders.

"The law requires that all vehicles on the road be insured, and even during lockdown many private motorists will need to use their vehicles for essential travel. They will need to be insured.

"Even if you do not drive during lockdown, you will still need to be protected against theft, vandalism and damage.

"The motor insurance market faces continuing cost pressures arising from increasing repair bills and higher theft claim payouts. Despite this, premiums continue to be very competitive.

"Your motor insurer can advise on any options that may help reduce your premium, or if you are worried about being able to continue to pay premium instalments.

"Pricing decisions will be a matter for individual firms. However, in a competitive market any reduction in cost pressures over the course of 2020 can clearly benefit consumers."

Belfast Telegraph