The creation of the Alliance is a response to countless stories from small organisations where services and jobs are being affected by excessive insurance costs.
The group which represents small and medium-sized businesses as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities, is highlighting the negative impact of persistently high premia and is calling for real action to tackle the issue.
“Persistently high, unsustainable insurance premiums are pushing everyday organisations to the brink and denying Ireland the voluntary and business services any civilised society might expect,” said Peter Boland, Spokesperson for the Alliance, “The formation of the Alliance for Insurance Reform is on the back of 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,” he continued, “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.”
An Amárach Research survey of 950 members of Alliance organisations found that since 2013 nearly half of respondents (47%) 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.
The top impacts of this on their organisations included inhibiting their ability to grow (47%), threatening the future of their organisation (45%) and making jobs less secure (25%).
At the launch of the Alliance stark examples were given of the negative impact of excessive insurance premia.
Eoin McCambridge of McCambridges food hall and restaurant in Galway claimed, “Rising insurance premiums are preventing McCambridges from investing in the business in terms of expansion, improvement and employment.
“In 2014 our insurance premium was €17,000. In 2017, it was €102,000. Within three years, McCambridges will be closed if premiums keep rising at the current rate.”
Eoin McCambridge added, “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
- deliver real transparency on how premiums are calculated as well as information on how, when and why claims are settled
- give consistency in the calculation of awards.”
The Alliance for Insurance Reform members comprise:
- Association of Irish Festival Events
- Car Rental Council of Ireland
- Construction Industry Federation
- Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland
- Galway City Business Association
- Ireland Active
- Irish Road Haulage Association
- Irish Hotel Federation
- Licensed Vintners Association
- Motorsport Ireland
- Playcentres Ireland
- Quick Service Food Alliance
- Restaurant 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).
Publicans are among those who’ve experienced substantial increases in their premia over the past two years and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has welcomed this launch, saying the initiative is badly needed in the face of the unprecedented escalation in insurance costs.
“VFI members are facing a situation where insurance costs are rising by, in some instances, over 40%,” stated VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “Personal injury claims lodged against publicans is one of the primary reasons put forward as justification for the increases. However there is little transparency with insurance companies on these claims.”
The VFI conducted a survey that revealed that 88.3% of its members have seen an increase in insurance in the past two years.
“There’s an urgent need to introduce transparency to how premiums are calculated,” he added, “We also require more information as to how, why and when claims are settled.”.
“We’re also calling for awards to be calculated on a consistent basis while payments should be realistic.” he added.
The LVA too welcomed the launch of the Alliance.
“The LVA are also one of its founding members and are glad to be involved with like-minded business organisations and charities,” LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keefe told Drinks Industry Ireland, “Insurance is a huge issue for our members and we’re working with the Alliance for Insurance Reform to address this real challenge to the sustainability of our sector.
“The voice of business and policy holders has not been heard in the debate about insurance in this country and we believe the Alliance has a valuable role to play in highlighting our concerns.”
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.
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.