Frank O’Rourke TD has said that the crippling cost of business insurance is leading to closures of nightclubs, marts, leisure and childcare facilities across the country.
Deputy O’Rourke was commenting following reports of business insurance and public liability costs increasing by up to eight fold.
Deputy O’Rourke explained, “Having spoken to businesses and Kildare Chamber of Commerce, I am aware that insurance premiums for some owners have increased by a multiple of eight. That is completely unacceptable and is not sustainable. “SMEs, who bear the brunt of these increases, make such a contribution to their local economies but the increase in insurance coupled with other increases which they have encountered over recent years, is proving too much for many and they are considering closing. “
“To add insult to injury, we recently learned that three of the country’s main insurance companies made a combined profit of almost €200m in 2018. They are raking it in by imposing huge premiums on consumers for their home, motor and business insurance. “While I accept that the personal injury awards are far too high in Ireland and that they are a key contributor to the rising insurance costs, I do not accept insurance companies not passing on some of their profits to their customers. “
“The reason the situation is out of control is due to the lack of delivery by the Government, they have not implemented the recommendations of the Cost of Insurance Working Group. The long promised Judicial Council which will set limits for claims is nowhere to be seen and the national claims database and a dedicated Garda insurance fraud unit is yet to be set up. “
“The Fianna Fáil Party recently put forward a motion calling on the Government to take a number of steps to address rising insurance costs – I believe it is high time this Government takes our steps seriously. This needs to stop before we see the closure of more businesses and further job losses”, concluded Deputy O’Rourke.
Frank O’Rourke has said insurance providers need to pass on some of their massive profits to consumers and called on the Government to immediately implement the recommendations of the Cost of Insurance Working Group.
Deputy O’Rourke was commenting following reports that three insurance companies in Ireland made a combined profit of €200 million last year and said, “Insurance companies are raking it in by imposing huge premiums on consumers for their home, motor and business insurance. Individuals across Kildare cannot keep up with rising motor and home insurance costs and businesses such as nightclubs, marts and childcare facilities are considering closing down because of the massive increases in public liability and business insurance.”
“While I accept that the personal injury awards are far too high in Ireland and that they are a key contributor to the rising insurance costs, I do not accept insurance companies not passing on some of their profits to their customers – that just makes good business sense. Insurance premiums continue to rise far in excess of what is fair or justified. These rising costs are a huge burden on customers, business, charities, and sports clubs. It is very important that the recommendations of the working group, formed to tackle rising insurance costs, are implemented immediately. So far it appears little has been done in this regard.”
“The establishment of a national claims database is just one step we can take. The legislation for this database was enacted some time ago, yet it languishes in the Department. In addition to the database the establishment of a dedicated Garda insurance fraud unit is one action which is often brought up by businesses and communities as an essential measure.” The Department must do more to prevent rising insurance costs. There are options on the table but little has been done to date while premiums continue to rise. The Minister ought to take this matter more seriously and step up efforts before we see the closure of more businesses and homeowners taking risks with their homes”, concluded Deputy O’Rourke.
Frank O’Rourke TD has welcomed the introduction of new rules by the Central Bank which will make it easier for mortgage holders to switch banks.
Frank said, “I have made repeated calls for a fairer mortgage market in Ireland. Irish variable mortgage rates are nearly double than of the EU average. The rest of Europe is paying interest of around 1.8% – while Irish customers are paying an average of 3.2% ” “Under new central bank rules, Banks will have to tell customers if they can make savings on their mortgages. Recent research has established that approximately one-in-five homeowners could save money by switching to a better interest rate.”
“I am hoping that the new central bank rules in relation to mortgage switching will bring increased competitiveness to the market, with better rate offers from banks who will not want customers to switch to another lender.”
Frank O’Rourke TD has criticised the government for delaying legislation which would clamp down on insurance fraud.
Frank commented, “Recent findings published by the insurance industry has labelled half of all personal injury claims brought to court as “potentially fraudulent”. False and misleading claims have negative …consequences for Irish policyholders and drive up the cost of insurance premiums.”
Frank O’Rourke TD has called for increased action to open up the Irish mortgage market to ensure that Ireland enjoys the same mortgage rates as other EU countries.
Frank commented, “Ireland mortgage rates are entirely unjustifiable and the banks must be tackled to ensure that fairer mortgage rates are available to Irish home owners. Irish mortgages are double that of the average in the EU, 3.3% as opposed to EU average of about 1.7%.”
“An Irish mortgage holder, with a 30 year term of €250,000, is paying €1085 per month. This is around €188 per month, equivalent to €2,200 per year or €68,000 over the lifetime of the mortgage, more than they would be paying in the average Euro area country.”