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Insures making millions on premiums that are forcing some SMEs to close - Maurice Quinlivan TD

13 March, 2019 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today said it was scandalous that insurance companies are making hundreds of millions of euro in profit on sky high insurance premiums that are forcing some SMEs to close.

Speaking this afternoon on a motion on business insurance in the Dáil, Teachta Quinlivan said;

“The insurance system in Ireland is broken. Insurance companies are bleeding ordinary motorists dry with ridiculous motor insurance premiums while some businesses are closing down due to their premiums rising by 300% and 400% in some cases.

“Sinn Féin recently met again with the Alliance for Insurance Reform, who are working hard to lobby for action on insurance premiums that are crippling some businesses.

“They informed us that some insurers are now refusing to insure entire sectors of industry, such as play centres for example, leaving businesses with no option but to either go down the very high risk route of self-insurance or close their doors.

“This particular problem is spreading like wildfire to other sectors including charities, sports clubs, festivals, voluntary groups, playgrounds and local authorities.

“One could be mistaken for thinking insurance companies are struggling to operate in the Irish market due to the much cited excuses of fraud and high cost of claims.

“However the reality is very, very different. The laissez-faire approach of the government to the regulation of the insurance market in this state is a jackpot for insurance companies, and it shows. 

“In the past few weeks alone, Aviva Ireland posted profits of €113 million, up €14 million on 2017. RSA insurance announced profits of €35m for the past last year, while FBD insurance reported profits of €50m.

“So at the same time as we have businesses closing down due to ridiculously high premiums and young people practically banned off the road because they cannot pay four or five thousand for one year’s car insurance, insurance companies are posting hundreds of millions in profits. It’s a scandalous situation.

“The government’s approach has been described as 'death by a thousand consultations' and that is an accurate portrayal. 

"It’s ridiculous that all this government can cite when they are asked about insurance is the Cost of Insurance Working Group.

“We need action, we need new laws, the industry needs to be challenged on their behaviour, but what we don’t need is report after report after report. 

"The government must do much more to protect businesses from these unfair and unjustified high insurance costs.”

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