Alliance for Insurance Reform highlights soaring costs

The VFI has welcomed today’s launch of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, saying the initiative is badly needed in the face of the unprecedented escalation in insurance costs.

According to Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, publicans have experienced substantial increases in their premiums over the past two years.

(l-r) VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben with Peter Boland and Eoin McCambridge of the Alliance for Insurance Reform

He says: “VFI members are facing a situation where insurance costs are rising by, in some instances, over 40%. 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.

“We conducted a survey conducted that revealed 88.3% of members have seen an increase in insurance in the past two years.”

The VFI Chief Executive says his organisation supports the demand of the Alliance for Insurance Reform.

“There is an urgent need to introduce transparency to how premiums are calculated. We also require more information as to how, why and when claims are settled,” he said.

“We are also calling for awards to be calculated on a consistent basis while payments should be realistic,” he added.

Background

The Alliance for Insurance Reform 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.

Peter Boland, spokesperson for the Alliance said:

“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. 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. 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 (47%) 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.

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 today, stark examples were given of the negative impact of excessive insurance premiums(see Notes to Editors).  One example is Eoin McCambridge of McCambridges food hall and restaurant in Galway:

“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 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.

For more information please visit the Alliance for Insurance Reform website