- ISME asks Taoiseach to publicly back request to expand investigation into Insurance Ireland
- ISME Members continue to experience upward movement in premiums
- Steady withdrawal of underwriters from Irish market is damaging competition
- Business closures continue unabated, this will become an election issue
ISME welcomes the Taoiseach’s ultimatum to insurance companies to reduce premiums in the next six months.
We also ask him to publicly back our request to DG Competition in the EU Commission, to expand their anti-trust investigation into Insurance Ireland beyond motor insurance, and into the areas of commercial motor, public liability, and employer liability insurance.
Our members continue to experience upward movement in premiums in these areas.
A formal request from the Irish Government to do so will carry far more weight with the Commission than ISME’s request has done. However, we caution the Taoiseach against confining Government attention to insurers alone.
For insurance reform to work, a holistic approach is required. This week’s news that insurance giant AIG is withdrawing public liability underwriting from the hotels sector is a public rebuttal of the Government’s contention that insurance industry profiteering is the root cause of high insurance costs in Ireland. The actions of the insurers in Ireland are not consistent with a market where super-normal profits are being earned.
ISME members see a slow but steady withdrawal of underwriters from the Irish market. In particular, hospitality, leisure, adventure sports, outdoor activities, and any activities to do with children, are slowly but surely becoming uninsurable in this state. This is damaging competition, and confining many areas of business in the hospitality and leisure sectors to a single underwriter.
As ISME has already informed the Minister for Justice, the Government has yet to make material progress on the areas requiring immediate reform:
- Reduced quantum for minor injuries, right now. Not when the Law Reform Commission reports in three or four years.
- Tackling exaggerated claims.
- Reform of the duty of care under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1995.
- Reform of the rules of court to ensure equity for defendants, and that losing plaintiffs pay their costs.
- Reduction in legal costs.
- Comprehensive reform of the Defamation Act.
- Enactment and enforcement of a Perjury Act.
Business closures continue unabated because of the stalling of insurance reform. It is inevitable that this will become an election issue for small business owners if the Taoiseach fails to inject urgency into the reform process now.
- ISME should be referred to as the Irish SME Association
For further information, please contact ISME offices T: 01 6622755 E: [email protected]