Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Business Insurance: Motion [Private Members]
Frank O'Rourke (Kildare North, Fianna Fail)
I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate this evening on the rising cost of business insurance. I thank my colleague, Deputy Michael McGrath, for tabling the motion this evening as well as for many other positive measures in this area to try to alleviate the problems that arise.
Just like motor insurance and home insurance, business insurance is getting out of control and we have had many contributions on that in the debate thus far. However, increased business insurance is another added cost for businesses, like so many other costs that are crippling the SME sector, which is the lifeblood of the economy. SMEs make such a contribution to the economy but increased business insurance is adding to the other increased costs they have encountered in recent years, having emerged from a very difficult time.
As we heard in the course of the debate, businesses are closing down and some businesses are operating without the appropriate insurance cover because they cannot afford it. When a business closes down because it cannot afford insurance, that means there are job losses. Like my colleague, Deputy Cassells, I have spoken to businesses, in my case to members of Kildare Chamber of Commerce, and they told me the insurance premiums for some of their members have increased by a multiple of eight. That is completely unacceptable and is not sustainable. That is what is crippling businesses at the moment. The reason the situation is out of control is due to the lack of delivery by the Government, not by the Minister of State, Deputy D'Arcy, as an individual, as we know he is fully committed of the recommendations made by the working group and the Oireachtas committee.
After so many years, what is preventing reductions in business insurance in addition to home insurance and motor insurance? There has been no real reduction, although the Minister of State, Deputy McEntee, said there has been some levelling out. Some of the businesses have indicated to Kildare Chamber of Commerce that the reason they have been given increased premiums relates to Storm Emma. This is a significant problem and there is no rationale for it. What is the cause of the delay in the Government reacting to the issue and delivering a solution, which we need?