Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Business Insurance: Motion [Private Members]
James Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
I commend Deputy Michael McGrath on tabling the motion. Employer liability insurance, public liability insurance and even motor insurance have reached unsustainable levels. In spite of that fact, little is being done about it. As the Minister of State is aware, businesses throughout County Wexford, in places such as Gorey, Enniscorthy, Wexford town, New Ross, Ferns and Bunclody, have seen their insurance premiums rise significantly. Sports clubs, community groups, charities, crèches, play zones and other organisations are all being hit hard.
I wish to mention taxis in particular, because many people, especially those in the disability sector, are dependent on taxis to bring them from A to B. However, taxi drivers have experienced massive increases in insurance costs which are causing them significant difficulties.
Actions have been set out by the cost of insurance working group at the Oireachtas finance committee and by Deputy Michael McGrath in respect of what can be done, yet we have seen a litany of Government failures to take those necessary actions. It has yet to establish a national claims information database to track the level of claims, tackle insurance fraud, establish the judicial council, establish a publicly funded anti-fraud unit within An Garda Síochána, set up a business insurance premium index that would track prices, and take action on stabilising personal injury claims. Meanwhile, the European Commission and Competition and Consumer Protection Commission continue to investigate here. Ordinary, decent people are setting up businesses and going out of business. Jobs are being lost. Community services and public schemes are being lost. Everybody is suffering as a result of the claims.
If steps are taken to reduce the overall cost of claims, steps also need to be made to ensure the savings are passed on to those taking out insurance. There should not simply be necessary actions to reduce the cost of insurance claims if insurance is not made more affordable.