23 Jan 2018 | 04.32 pm
New Alliance To Counter Excessive Insurance Costs
Alliance for Insurance Reform is launched
23 Jan 2018 | 04.32 pm
A new organisation, The Alliance for Insurance Reform, has been launched with the aim of highlighting the negative impact of high insurance premiums on business and to lobby for real action to tackle the issue.
The Alliance consists of 18 civic and business organisations representing 35,000 members, over 620,000 employees and 41,300 volunteers.
Alliance spokesman Peter Boland explained: “Persistently high, unsustainable insurance premiums are pushing organisations to the brink and denying Ireland the voluntary and business services any civilised society might expect. The formation of the Alliance for Insurance Reform has been promoted by the intense frustration with unjust and persistent rises in insurance premiums and the clear lack of any meaningful results from the initiatives taken in the area so far.
“What is at stake is the survival of charities and voluntary bodies serving our country and the livelihood of Irish business owners and their staff. That is why we need action now.”
A survey of 950 members of Alliance organisations, carried out by Amárach Research, found that since 2013, nearly half of respondents have seen their premiums rise by over 30%, while over one fifth have even seen rises of over 70%. Two thirds of respondents also reported having increased excesses or new exclusions added to their policies – creating more risk and exposure to cost.
At the launch of the Alliance, stark examples were given of the negative impact of excessive insurance premiums. Eoin McCambridge of McCambridges food hall and restaurant in Galway said that rising insurance premiums are preventing the company from investing in the business in terms of expansion, improvement and employment.
According to McCambridge: “In 2014 our insurance premium was €17,000, and in 2017 it was €102,000. Within three years, McCambridges will be closed if premiums keep rising at the current rate. The Alliance will be a voice for the interests of the policyholder who always comes at the bottom of the list after insurers and the legal profession and other vested interests. We are demanding urgent change that will prevent exaggerated and misleading claims being pursued and settled. We are also calling for real transparency on how premiums are calculated as well as information on how, when and why claims are settled.”
William Hanley, the owner of a Supervalu store in south Dublin, said the shop’s annual insurance premium has increased every year for the past four years. He also pays out an excess charge of €5,000 for each and every claim settled by his insurance company, which adds a considerable amount to his annual insurance bill. Hanley added that he is highly frustrated by how insurance companies don’t tackle exaggerated and vexatious claims.
The Alliance will be holding public meetings around the country in the next few weeks to gather feedback from companies and organisations on their experiences and on how they’ve been impacted.
Peter Boland said that when it has gathered this evidence, the Alliance will publish a very specific list of changes it believes are necessary to prevent fake claims, deliver transparency, ensure consistency and give policyholders a voice. He urged all businesses and civic society organisations who are fed up with inflating insurance premiums to join the Alliance for Insurance Reform.
Alliance For Insurance Reform Members
AOIFE Ireland (Association of Irish Festival Events)
Car Rental Council of Ireland
Construction Industry Federation
Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland
Galway City Business Association
Irish Road Haulage Association
Irish Hotels Federation
Licensed Vintners Association
Quick Service Food Alliance
Restaurants Association of Ireland
Society of the Irish Motor Industry
Vintners Federation of Ireland
The Wheel (Ireland’s national association for community, voluntary and charitable organisations)
Photo: Peter Boland with Colm Crofty, Association of Irish Festival Events. (Pix: Kevin McFeely)