Deputy Declan Breathnach.
Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach has called for urgent action to tackle rising business insurance costs and has accused the insurance industry of operating a price fixing cartel.
He says that small businesses, including those in the retail sector, will be pushed out of business because of spiralling insurance costs.
“Premium increases being faced by many businesses are not sustainable and we have called on the government to step up its efforts to introduce vital reforms that will help consumers” he said.
“In relation to the retail sector, for example, retailers are the low hanging fruit in insurance fraud and are the ones most susceptible to bogus claims. There are no active deterrents for unscrupulous people who contemplate exaggerating their claims. Where people do this and are found out by the court, they should be referred to the DPP and prosecuted themselves.”
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“The settlements awarded currently are out of kilter with other similar jurisdictions like the UK which is only serving to drive insurance costs higher. In addition, there should be more involvement by policy holders in the settlement of claims. As a priority they should be informed how much people are awarded so there is more transparency.”
“It is my firm belief that a cartel is operating in the insurance industry with no regulation in the sector and no competition in pricing.”
“For self-employed people, tradespeople, companies or indeed the many Voluntary and Community Enterprises, the cost of Employer Liability and Public Liability insurance is proving unsustainable and will push many of these businesses out of existence.”
“The government needs to reboot its Working Group on the Cost of Insurance and focus on what can be done in the short term in addition to longer term objectives.
“The reality is that many businesses cannot afford to wait until 2019 or 2020 for reforms to be introduced. They need action on this issue now and that is what we called for in the Dáil debate,” Breathnach concluded.
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