Many businesses, festivals and community events and sporting clubs are on the brink due to crippling insurance costs and every tool must be used to try to bring down insurance premiums.
The warning came from Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy as he spoke in the Dáil ahead of the 2nd stage debate on Fianna Fáil’s ‘Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill’ which seeks to reduce the number of fraudulent insurance claims by ensuring false claims are dealt with under the law.
“Premiums are continuing to increase, and one of the main factors is the excessive number of false claims for compensation. This leads to rising living costs for all of us and putting the cost of insurance beyond many people,” said Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Murphy commended his colleague Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Billy Kelleher TD for bringing the Bill before the House.
Deputy Murphy highlighted the difficulties encountered by Ballinasloe Horse Fair in obtaining insurance cover for their recent event.
“The organising committee of one of the country's most famous and oldest fairs, the Ballinasloe horse fair, had to have several meetings this year to see if it could obtain insurance cover. Their insurance this year to cover a few days came to a whopping €14,000. This is a voluntary group in Ballinasloe town that has been organising the fair for many years. To fork out €14,000, before even covering other costs, is a high price for a community group,” said Deputy Murphy.
“Members of the public are growing increasingly frustrated by the Government's slow response in respect of this issue. To use the example of a local family hotel in my constituency, several years ago, their public liability insurance cost €12,500. When it was reassessed, it increased to €21,000. It is now at €50,000 because the hotel had two small claims made against it. I fear that they will not be able to continue in business if this continues. There is not a realisation as to how many groups and businesses are on the brink because of massive insurance costs,” said Deputy Murphy.
“GAA clubs and other voluntary groups have also seen insurance costs increase. Many involved are asking whether, in light of rising insurance costs, their community groups can remain in existence. Festivals contribute to the local economy.
“The Government seems to roll over on certain issues and is moving slowly. We must leap into action, get decisions quickly and deal with these fraudsters who have got away with unacceptable behaviour for many years. The European Commission is continuing its investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the Irish insurance market. That inquiry has been going on for some time now. Surely some results should be evident.
“The rocketing cost of living in Ireland must be addressed. I hope we can move forward in bringing reductions to insurance costs for many groups and organisations,” concluded Deputy Murphy.