Trudgill says Northern Ireland insurance costs are different, but premiums ‘not bad by comparison’

The Northern Ireland government has appealed to Biba to help former members of paramilitary groups who are banned by insurers because of their criminal convictions.

The government is concerned that many ex-prisoners are uninsured and others are simply not declaring their convictions to get personal lines insurance. Under the current Rehabiliation of Offenders legislation, many if not all former prisoners can be refused cover.

Biba says it will help by steering them towards specialist brokers, and it is hoped that the ABI will draw up specific guidance for insurance in Northern Ireland to cater for these special cases.

Technical and corporate affairs executive Graeme Trudgill said: “There’s no point in them going on a comparison site, being disappointed or not putting in that they’ve had a conviction … and then getting a claim thrown out because it was not disclosed. The best course is to go to an appropriate broker. This is where we link back to signposting and access to insurance, and how brokers can help people with non-standard risks no matter what the reason – whether it be flooding or convictions in Northern Ireland.”

Biba met civil servants from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Belfast last week.

In a separate development, The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland has asked for Biba’s opinion on whether motor insurance in Northern Ireland is expensive compared to the rest of the UK. Trudgill said investigations into different Northern Ireland postcodes showed little evidence of price variation against the UK. Where it did exist, it could be explained by the different claims culture.

Trudgill said: “Northern Ireland represents 5.4% of total UK claims, but only has 2.6% of the total number of cars. Neck injuries start at £30,000 and go up to £265,000, whereas in Great Britain they start at £14,000 and go up to only £86,000. So the cost is very different.

“Also, in Northern Ireland something like 40% of motor claims go to court, and in Great Britain it’s 3.5%. So actually, the awards and legal systems and claims they have are quite a lot more. “Despite that, the premiums aren’t actually that bad in comparison. ”