Dáil debates

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Insurance Industry

10:10 pm

Photo of Alan DillonAlan Dillon (Mayo, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I raise a Topical Issue matter relating to the difficulties facing insurance policyholders with regard to claims arising from business interruption. I can speak of two serious cases that have been brought to my attention by local retailers in recent weeks - and I am sure there are many more nationally - in which claims under business interruption cover were refused despite very clear wording in the policy documents.

Our way of life changed earlier this year with the onset of Covid-19 but the Irish public and our entrepreneurs held firm and rose to the challenge. We witnessed Ireland's community spirit come to the fore. There is an old tradition of the meitheal in Mayo. This is a fondly cherished rural tradition of neighbours coming together to save hay, cut turf and help others in times of need. I speak of the meitheal tradition because the community knows that, in the long run, everyone benefits from working together. It would be wise for insurers engaging in delay tactics when dealing with business interruption claims to think on the issues long and hard as things may go against them.

Uncertainty and fear lay ahead when the integrity of our businesses was challenged. Naturally, small business owners up and down the country checked their insurance policies to see what was indemnified under business interruption cover and what exclusion clauses applied. Many breathed a sigh of relief on reading phrases in their policies which included very clear language about infectious diseases. It looked like the insurers would be there for them. There were phrases suggesting that, in the case of closure, businesses would be covered against loss of profits.

I am sorry, Ceann Comhairle. I have a headache. I apologise.


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