A Fianna Fáil private members’ motion calling for urgent action to tackle rising business insurance costs will be debated in the Dáil today (at approx. 5pm). The Party’s Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD said the premium increases being faced by many businesses are not sustainable and has called on the government to step up its efforts to introduce vital reforms that will help consumers.

Deputy McGrath commented, “There has rightly been a keen political and media focus on the major difficulties faced by motor insurance consumers in recent years but much less of an emphasis on the rising insurance costs faced by businesses. Charities, community groups and sports clubs are all being affected by escalating costs.

“While the CSO does not publish data on the cost of insurance for businesses, we know from representative bodies and from individual employers that the cost of Employer and Public Liability insurance has increased dramatically for many in recent times. This is particularly true for businesses that have a significant public footfall including those in the retail and hospitality sectors.

“In addition to premium hikes, other policy changes have been made to the detriment of businesses including increases in excess levels and the increasing prevalence of policy exclusions. Businesses consistently raise the claims environment as a key issue driving premium increases.

“We have story after story of insurance firms settling claims that the employer believes to be bogus, exaggerated or even fraudulent. The absence of claims data, the lack of consistency in Court awards in personal injury cases, the lack of prosecutions for fraudulent claims, the willingness of some in the legal profession to bring cases with no legitimacy, and the failure of insurance firms to provide information to employers about claims made against them are all key issues that need to be addressed.

“The government needs to reboot its Working Group on the Cost of Insurance and focus on what can be done in the short term in addition to longer term objectives. The reality is that many businesses cannot afford to wait until 2019 or 2020 for reforms to be introduced. They need action on this issue now and we will be calling for this in today’s Dáil debate,” concluded McGrath.