July 14, 2019 / 11:20 PM / a month ago

Cost of British car insurance rises in second quarter - survey

FILE PHOTO: Cars head towards the approach tunnel of Heathrow Airport

LONDON (Reuters) - The cost of an annual comprehensive motor insurance policy in Britain rose 3.5% in the second quarter of 2019, lifted by a rise in the cost of claims, a survey on Monday showed.

The average premium for a comprehensive policy is now 789 pounds, according to the latest index from price comparison site Confused.com, compiled by insurance broker Willis Towers Watson.

The report, based on price figures compiled using anonymous data from all enquiries submitted on Admiral’s (ADML.L) Confused.com site, said 2019 could see further price pressures.

Companies such as Admiral, RSA (RSA.L), Direct Line (DLGD.L), esure and Hastings (HSTG.L) provide cover in Britain’s highly competitive motor insurance sector.

The premiums saw an average 5% annual increase, up around 27 pounds from the previous quarter. British motorists are paying 37 pounds more than they were paying a year ago.

“Ongoing claims inflation pressures” contributed to the price changes, Graham Wright, UK lead property and casualty personal lines pricing at Willis Towers Watson said. Insurers say that fraudulent claims and more sophisticated technology in modern cars have led to an increase in the cost of claims.

Wright said that a delay to April 2020 to reforms to cut down on fraudulent claims for whiplash injuries will add to pressures on rates.

The data is compiled from almost six million customer quotes per quarter.

Reporting by Navdeep Yatav, editing by Louise Heavens

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