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martedì 22 dicembre 2009

LIABILITY? THIRD PARTY VEHICLE INSURANCE IN ITALY AND EUROP

LIABILITY? THIRD PARTY VEHICLE INSURANCE IN ITALY AND EUROPE

Di Giacomo Palumbo

In recent years the market of vehicle Liability insurance in Italy has seen a significant increase in the number of accidents, with a corresponding rise in insurance premiums. As a result, Italy has the highest insurance premiums in Europe.

This rise in prices in Italy is certainly not a new phenomenon. No wonder then that the annual premiums for vehicle insurance are higher than those of the other European countries. The continuous increases year after year have limited free competition and kept prices artificially high.

For this reason, the differences between premiums for the exact same vehicle liability insurance can vary widely according to the insurance company chosen. Not only for this reason is it necessary to shop around before choosing a policy. It can save quite a bit of money.

“Ania” (Italian National Association of Insurance Companies) has re-launched an investigation against the government’s company-saving decree and the Antitrust Authority has found that in Italy the cost of insurance rose by 28.2% over the 5 years following the liberalization of vehicle Liability insurance. Bodywork repairers, mechanics and insurance claims adjusters are thus considered to be among the main parties responsible for increasing insurance premiums, as is clear from the survey conducted by the Ania and from Isvap sources (Institute for the supervision of private insurance and public interest).

It was consequently considered very important to help face the issue of vehicle Liability insurance in two ways: a) by providing a more complete set of information and analysis on the market in Italy, b) by opening a discussion at the European level between the organs which control the insurance markets in the respective countries and which as a result have a privileged view of the markets and their operators.

We have made a technical analysis of the market for vehicle Liability insurance in Europe and between the various countries. In Italy increases are almost double those recorded in Spain (+19.1%), the only other EU country to have clocked up increases well above the European average. Third place goes to Germany, with a variation of 15%. Increases in France and the United Kingdom are 10.1 and by 9.8% respectively, followed by Belgium (+2.5%) and the Netherlands (+2.1%), which is the motorists’ paradise in terms of private expenditure for the insurance premium.

Belgium and Holland have always offered a market with a remarkable ability to control the cost of claims.

And, as has happened in Italy and Spain, the competition has led to the end of 2000. The most interesting observation that emerges, apart from these figures, is the greater diversification of the quotes on offer, particularly in Belgium and Holland, where the differences in the cost of the different liability insurance coverage are due to a personalization of the estimate taken to the extreme.

The term full insurance coverage is simply an insurance marketing strategy. As well as the year of registration of the car it takes into consideration a profile created of the person to be insured - age, sex, occupation, low-mileage discount, number of possible drivers of the car, leading to a customization of the premium offered.

The general conclusion to be drawn is that the rates seem to be less diversified in Italy and Spain, countries where liberalization was introduced later than in France and the United Kingdom.

Another important conclusion of this research should be mentioned. Efforts should be made to lower the prices of vehicle insurance policies and to reduce their rate of growth compared to the evolution of inflation. One of the possible easy ways to lower the cost of European vehicle insurance is to utilize anti-theft devices and indicate their existence in the insurance policy.

The measures to bring about all these changes must be backed up by the control and intervention of the Insurance Authority, and by the commitment of consumer groups, in order to improve the quality of the service and increase the degree of transparency of insurance rates and contractual norms.

In summary, using this survey to draw conclusions on a European level, it has emerged that the vehicle Liability insurance, relating not only to cars, and also taking into account the different purchasing powers, is more expensive in Italy than in Belgium and the Netherlands, which have obtained the gold medal in this research.

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