The number of motor insurance claims relating to uninsured or untraced drivers recorded in Laois increased last year, according to new figures released by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI).
In total 34 claims were made in Laois in 2017, up by 13% from the 30 claims submitted from the county in 2016.
The claim figures were also higher than the 2015 levels, when a total of 31 Laois claims were recorded.
Nationally the MIBI outlined the raised number of claims received throughout the country during 2016 was sustained in 2017.
In total 2,758 claims were made throughout the Republic of Ireland in 2017, which represents a jump of 242 more claims than in 2015.
On a countrywide basis there was a marginal 2% decrease in received claims between 2017 and 2016, when a total of 2,802 claims were submitted.
The largest number of claims came from Dublin with 1,140 claims arising in the capital.
This accounted for 41% of all MIBI claims last year.
The number of Dublin claims has also grown year to year, with 2017 seeing a 1% increase compared to the 1,129 received in 2016, while in 2015 a total of 1,074 Dublin claims had been raised.
Cork had the second highest number of claims, although the 212 received in 2017 was lower than both the 2016 figure (243) and the 2015 total (213). Limerick accounted for the third highest quantity with 156 claims submitted in 2017 (152 in 2016 and 155 in 2015).
While the national claim figures were broadly similar between 2016 and 2017, some significant regional variations did arise on a proportional basis. Leitrim had the highest percentage increase in the number of claims (70%), followed by Roscommon (60%), Carlow (43%) and Monaghan (42%).
The largest percentage drop in claims came in Kilkenny (-39%), followed by Offaly (-34%) and then Wicklow (-33%).
The MIBI is a not for profit organisation which was established to compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.
Speaking about the figures, David Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of the MIBI said,
“Last year the MIBI saw an increase in the number of claims received from Laois. This increase in claims is in line with the overall picture we have been seeing around the country over the past couple of years.
“ Since 2016 the MIBI has witnessed a significant step up in the number of claims we receive.
“There has been a marked increase from the previous level of claims which would have been in the region of 2,400 to 2,500 per year on a national basis.
“There are a range of factors behind this step up in activity, including the number of uninsured drivers operating on Irish roads.
“ As the MIBI outlined in late 2016, at that time there were over 151,000 uninsured private vehicles in the Republic of Ireland.
“We are continuing to work with the Gardaí, the State and the rest of the motor insurance industry to bring forward measures that will help combat this problem.
“The MIBI has also outlined our determination to tackle fraudulent claims around the country, including in Laois.
“We estimate 1 in 8 of all claims we receive are suspicious.
“As we detailed in our Fighting Fraud strategy we are now making it much more difficult for claims of this type to succeed and we believe this more aggressive approach will lead to the decline in bogus claims over time, reducing the overall number of claims received in future,” Mr. Fitzgerald concluded.