A PRESSURE group is set to launch in the coming week to fight for changes to ensure lower insurance costs for businesses.
The Alliance for Insurance Reform is set to be revived a decade-and-a-half after it was successful in bringing about huge changes.
The venture is again being spearheaded by Supermac’s owner Pat McDonagh, amid concerns that the spiralling cost of cover is causing firms like shops and pubs to go out of business.
A spokesman for the group said it was being brought back into operation due to the pressure on premiums from fake accident claims, and concerns that a minority of lawyers are promoting spurious claims.
There is also a worry that insurers are still too eager to pay out on questionable claims rather than fight them in the courts, where an inconsistency in judgements means the outcome can be hard to determine in advance.
In the past the alliance was instrumental in pushing for changes in the legal and administrative infrastructure around insurance when Mary Harney was Minister for Jobs and Enterprise.
The changes led to the setting up of the Injuries Board, and the introduction of laws to make it an offence to lie in court in a personal injuries case, and other insurance reforms, including road safety laws and court reforms to increase competition and lower premiums.
Meanwhile, a leading insurance brokerage said pubs and shops will be forced to close if the compo culture is not tackled.
Insuremyshop.ie said professional claimants are forcing insurance premiums up to levels that mean many businesses are unable to pay.
Managing director of Insuremyshop.ie Jonathan Hehir said: “It’s a wicked irony that the economy might be improving but the benefits are being negated by increased litigation from ‘professional’ insurance claimants and a subsequent rise in the cost of insurance.”
He said this year could be a bleak one for businesses unless the Government introduces harsher penalties that involve jail time for unscrupulous trip-and-trick fraudsters.
The next phase of the Government’s working group on the cost of insurance, set up by Cabinet minister Eoghan Murphy, is due to focus on employer liability and public liability insurance.
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