Help us fight for fairer insurance

The Alliance for Insurance Reform (AIR) is working on your behalf to reduce the exorbitant insurance costs for business in Ireland. The VFI is a founding member of AIR.

A large part of AIR’s work involves meeting TDs and government ministers to impress upon them the stark realities of insurance costs for SMEs. While many of the recommendations to reduce the cost of insurance remain ignored, AIR continues to apply pressure through media work and extensive lobbying efforts.

Alliance for Insurance Reform

Alliance for Insurance Reform – background  

A VFI member survey found insurance is the number one issue affecting publicans. In many respects that is no surprise but the survey does underline the need for The Alliance for Insurance Reform (AIR), which the VFI helped establish in January 2018.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform is a representative group formed with the sole objective of reducing spiralling insurance costs in Ireland to sustainable levels. The group consists of a wide range of civic, sporting and small business bodies as well as individual businesses; all of them affected by the unsustainable cost of insurance in Ireland.

AIR brings together 18 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing 35,000 members, over 620,000 employees and 41,300 volunteers to demand action to end crippling insurance premiums.

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 not-for-profit organisations, charities and small and medium- sized businesses, is highlighting the negative impact of persistently high premiums and is calling for real action to tackle the issue.

What is Alliance for Insurance Reform doing on our behalf?

AIR is continuing to work on your behalf to develop proposals that will deliver realistic premiums and see spurious claims dismissed.

AIR aims can be summed up as follows:

PREVENTION of exaggerated and misleading claims being pursued and settled

CONSISTENCY in the calculation of awards at realistic and sustainable levels

TRANSPARENCY on how premiums are calculated and claims are settled

AIR has 10 ‘Asks’…….

PREVENTION of exaggerated and misleading claims being pursued and settled

  1. Set up the Garda Insurance Fraud Unit funded by Insurance Industry – everything is in place to make this work. It is up to the Minister to come up with a mechanism to transfer the funding to the Gardai without compromising the Gardai. Even the Personal Injuries Commission final report endorses this approach according to leaked reports.
  2. Amend Section 8 of the Civil Liability Act 2004 to reduce the period for reporting accidents to 1 month and make it mandatory – awaiting the draft amendment from the Department of Justice via the CIWG this autumn, along with an amendment to Section 14 on the swearing of affidavits.
  3. Link Sections 26 and 25 of the Civil Liability Act 2004 so that exaggerated and misleading claims are automatically forwarded to the Gardai for prosecution – CIWG is now actively looking at options. May piggy-back on Billy Kellehers PMB but in any case it will be to the Gardai, not the DPP, to whom cases will be referred as they will still need to be investigated. Wording being discussed to avoid being seen to tell judges what to do.
  4. Regulate claims management companies (claims harvesters) – no action here and no interest in action from the Ministers for Justice or Finance. We will have to take a leading role on this if anything is to happen. We raised it as part of our July submission to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority review (attached), asking that the LSRA control them.

CONSISTENCY in the calculation of awards at realistic and sustainable levels

  1. Change the approach to calculating the Book of Quantum using the cap and concept of proportionality already established by the Court of Appeal – the PIC Final Report and its recommendations are the only show in town on this. Leaked excerpts would suggest a sensible approach that draws the judiciary into the process but we’ll have to see the final report to be sure and protect it from vested interest attacks if necessary.
  2. Require judges who award damages in excess of the Book of Quantum to set out a detailed reasoning for doing so. This is included in the RGDATA Private Members Bill that they are discussing with Michael McGrath.

 TRANSPARENCY on how premiums are calculated and claims are settled 

  1. Give control of the data coming from the new National Claims Information Database to the PIAB – Minister and CIWG determined to leave this with Central Bank. Might have to regroup on our approach to this one.
  2. Reinstate the Blue Book overview of the insurance industry – both ourselves and ISME working hard on this one with support from the media. No movement so far.
  3. Reinstate the 2003 IIF/IBEC protocol on dealing with claims – await update from the Minister on the 18th Sept.
  4. Scrap and revisit the agreed Large Increases Protocol – await update from the Minister.

The Alliance has held several public meetings to inform members about their work and to garner feedback about the challenges faced by SMEs.

There is ongoing media coverage of AIR’s work, including appearance on National radio & TV along with numerous local radio appearances.


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD, speaking about the Alliance for Insurance Reform, said: ‘they’re a serious bunch of people that you’re talking about‘.

AIR has met with the minister responsible for insurance, Michael D’Arcy, and his team to hold them accountable for promised reforms, primarily through the Cost of Insurance Working Group. AIR will also present to the Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation in April to drive home the need to urgently address this crisis.

 Other AIR meetings include the following:

  • Legal Services Regulatory Authority
  • Data Protection Commissioner: – clarification on CCTV retention in the context of Sections 7 and 8 of Civil Liability Act 2004
  • Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
The AIR website is here

All AIR all press releases are available here 


An appearance by AIR at the Oireachtas Finance Committee outlining the challenges faced by SMEs and issues we need tackled is available here (starts at the 45 minute mark)

On behalf of the VFI and AIR we appreciate your help in the ongoing fight for a fairer insurance market.