Regulator 'To Reverse Car Insurance Hikes'
The competition regulator has announced a series of measures it says will help bring down the costs of insuring a car.
The proposals outlined by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) include imposing a cap on replacement vehicle costs passed on to an at-fault driver following an accident - estimated to currently total up to £180m annually.
It also wanted to ban price parity agreements between price comparison websites and insurers, which stop insurers from making their products available to consumers elsewhere more cheaply.
The CMA called too for better information for consumers about their rights following an accident and on the benefits of no-claims bonus protection.
It recommended the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) examine how insurers inform consumers about other private motor insurance add-on products.
The CMA investigated after a previous study suggested many drivers were paying unnecessary costs arising from a "complex chain", inflating insurance premiums by as much as £200m a year.
Alasdair Smith, chairman of the private motor insurance investigation group and CMA deputy panel chairman, said: "There are over 25 million privately registered cars in the UK and we think these changes will benefit motorists who are currently paying higher premiums as a result of the problems we've found."
In an interview with Sky News, he agreed the majority of cost in post-accident courtesy cars was down to rival insurers fighting their corner with credit hire firms.
Mr Smith said the planned cap would still make it a worthwhile service for the industry, arguing: "Just bringing an artificially high price down to a more sensible level will reduce the incentive that people have to get involved in these ultimately unproductive but expensive disputes."
The CMA said it did not consider the impact of personal injury claims in its investigation, citing recent changes implemented by the Ministry of Justice including the banning of referral fees for claims and other changes being considered.
The reforms are said to have already had a significant impact on premiums.