A number of Irish motor insurance companies have reportedly been raided on Tuesday
The companies have faced allegations of price fixing, with consumers reporting a sharp rise in their car insurance premiums.
Updated 17:17, Tuesday 4 July
The Irish Independent is reporting that a number of Irish insurance providers were raided by officers from the State's competition watchdog - along with investigators from the European Commission - on Tuesday morning.
Insurance Ireland confirmed the nature of the investigation in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
"Insurance Ireland can confirm that it is subject to an unannounced inspection at its premises by the European Commission," revealed a spokesperson.
"Insurance Ireland understands that the inspection at its premises relates to databases concerning claims history information and drivers’ penalty points. Insurance Ireland is co-operating fully with the European Commission and is confident its practices are fully compliant with competition law. Insurance Ireland is not in a position to comment further at this time."
Tuesday morning's action comes after a ten-month-long investigation into reports that industry insiders are openly signalling increases in motor insurance premiums within the State.
With motor insurance costs increasing by 60%, and more in some cases, in the last three years a probe was launched by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission at the end of 2016.
Isolde Goggin, chairperson of the CCPC, said last September that she intended to crack down on any alleged breaches of competition law in Ireland.
Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson, welcomed Tuesday morning's developments: "I welcome news this morning of raids being carried out by Competition Enforcement officials investigating possible cartel behaviour. This is good news for consumers that concerns I have voiced for some time about cartelism now are being taken seriously.
“The dramatic spikes in insurance prices across the board, and the fact that the Central Bank has accused the insurers of providing false information to it, point to sound grounds for investigation. The industry has been warned before about price signalling.
“The news this morning will offer hope to drivers and others reliant on insurance that there is some protection for them even if it is coming very late in the day.”
A spokesperson for the CCPC added: "The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is working with the European Commission in their investigation. The European Commission investigates potential infringements of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The CCPC cannot provide any information in relation to the European Commission’s investigation."