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08th September 2011

Consumer Council welcomes the Office of Fair Trading decision to examine the insurance market in UK

The Consumer Council today welcomed the announcement by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that it is to launch an investigation into the insurance market in the UK, with particular focus on the car insurance market in Northern Ireland (NI).

Speaking about the announcement, Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said:  “This decision by the OFT is a positive next step for consumers in NI.  The Consumer Council is delighted that the OFT has responded to the formal submission we made last week and has committed to take a specific focus on issues affecting consumers in NI.”  

“We will continue to work closely with the OFT to help develop a set of recommendations which can make a difference for NI consumers.  Given today’s announcement, we are urging the public to throw their weight behind the Consumer Council's ‘Lower Car Insurance’ campaign in Northern Ireland.  Please sign our petition atwww.consumercouncil.org.ukand tell us your stories of how the high cost of car insurance has affected you or your family.  Your stories and experiences of how car insurance costs affect you will be used as further evidence to the OFT and can really make a difference to this campaign.  Please encourage your family, friends and colleagues to sign up too.”

Notes to Editors

·  The Consumer Council recently launched a four pronged campaign on 31 August 2011 to reduce the high cost of car insurance in NI.  Car insurance premiums here have risen by 73 per cent[1]in the last two years and the average yearly premium is now £923.90.  

·  The campaign consists of four strands:  a formal submission to the OFT to enable it to examine the car insurance market here; meeting with the Department of Justice and the Justice Committee to examine the impact of the costs associated with claims here; meeting with the Environment Minister to ask for practical initatives to support younger drivers and launching an online petition for consumers to pledge their support to the campaign and to hear their stories of how the high cost of car insurance affects them.  Consumers can sign up atwww.consumercouncil.org.uk

·  This campaign was launched against a backdrop of:

o  Households in NI spending on average around 35 per cent more on energy compared to the UK average.

o  Expenditure on food is also around 14 per cent higher in NI.

o  Across all expenditure items households in NI spend around 5 per cent more than the UK average.

(Figures are from the Family Expenditure Survey 2010 (2009 prices).

o  NI consumers have faced the highest price within the UK for petrol, diesel or both every month so far in 2011.  (Source:  AA Fuel Price Report)

Consumers can contact the Consumer Council by calling 0800 121 6022, visit our website www.consumercouncil.org.ukor follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

ENDS

 

  1. Consumer Council media contact: Irene Overend, telephone, 028 9067 4816 or 07825147496 or e-mail, ioverend@consumercouncil.org.uk  
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.
  3. For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk



[1] Souce:  AA Insurance Price Index