Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Business Insurance: Motion [Private Members]
The Government is well aware of the significant increases in motor, public liability and employer insurance. The Minister of State commissioned two reports, the latest of which was published a year ago and dealt with employer and public liability insurance. The reality is that many small businesses are not in a position to pass on the increased charges they face and that calls into question their very viability and sustainability and puts them at risk. The fact that the Minister of State has published two reports is very interesting. We have seen reductions in the cost of motor insurance, where we have some specific data. However, it is not enough. The problem with employer liability insurance is that we have anecdotal evidence and individual cases such as those read into the record of the House by Deputy Michael McGrath but the statistics do not seem to be available in the same way as the CSO figures for motor insurance are.
Having tackled motor insurance, we now see very significant increases in employer and public liability insurance. Have the insurance companies moved their target and focus from one range of insurance policies to another? I would nearly go so far as to ask whether they are working together and whether anti-competitive practices are in place. We need to look at this. It is very interesting because answering a question on the floor of the House yesterday, the Minister of State indicated that three insurance companies between them returned a profit of over €200 million at a time when we are seeing exorbitant and unsustainable increases in the cost of insurance.
The Judicial Council Bill, which was referred to by Deputy Michael McGrath, is quite urgent. I heard the Minister of State ask yesterday whether we could facilitate it. Park the other Bill and move on. This side of the House has facilitated the Government on a number of occasions, particularly around the Brexit legislation in committee, on the floor of this House or in the Seanad. We are telling the Minister of State that the vanity project of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport should not stand in the way of the Judicial Council Bill. We are asking the Government to park it and move with what is important for all of us.