Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams TD and Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú yesterday met with the Minister of State Michael D’Arcy TD to discuss the current crisis facing many leisure based companies whose insurance cover has been withdrawn.
Representatives of local Louth company Pelican Promotions, Mandy Fee and Shane Mc Bride, also attended the meeting.
The Sinn Féin representatives put to the Minister their view that:
- The government should tell insurers that if they don’t act, the State will.
- The State must be ready to provide guarantees or other assistance to certain sectors help weather this storm.
- In the longer run, the government must look to other solutions to this type of market failure through a State company or a genuine EU wide insurance market.
- The government should support Pearse Doherty’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill – which is designed to bring the insurance industry to heel and reform the law in respect of insurance contracts.
Speaking after the meeting Gerry Adams said that the Sinn Féin representatives raised two specific issues with the Minister.
“Firstly, we asked the Minister what plans the government has to protect jobs threatened by the decision of British insurers to withdraw from the Irish market. Some estimates put the number of jobs at risk across the state as high as 4,500.
Secondly, and following An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s statement this week that he has given the insurance companies six months to bring down their premium prices, I asked the Minister what sanctions the government intends taking if insurance companies do not lower their premiums”.
The Louth TD said: “The recent decision by AXA XL, the underwriter of Leisure Insure, not to offer cover to Irish company’s means that Pelican Promotions have been unable to renew their public liability insurance which expires on 13th August, effectively forcing the business to close.
Leisure Insure was one of the last insurers covering event companies, bouncy castle operators, leisure centres, yoga classes, soccer teachers, drama classes, some play centres and a large number of leisure companies.
Operators in the leisure sector largely rely on British insurers as Irish-based insurers cite large losses on what is called liability insurance. British companies are now using the same excuse.
I urged the Minister to make it clear to Insurance companies that if they don’t act, the State will.
The State must also be ready to provide guarantees or other assistance to certain sectors to help weather this storm.
In the longer run, we must look to other solutions to this type of market failure through a State company or a genuine EU wide insurance market”.
Cllr Ó Murchú said:
“€227 million profits were made by the insurance industry last year. This is a 1,300% increase in their profits. Government policy must now reflect this reality and any reforms that benefit the industry must be matched by clear verifiable commitments from them to reduce premiums.
In May An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar signed the money message for Pearse Doherty’s Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill – which is designed to bring the insurance industry to heel and reform the law in respect of insurance contracts. On July 11 the Bill passed Committee Stage in the Finance Committee.
The Bill is pro-consumer and pro-transparency and is based on a Law Reform Commission Report. The government should support Teachta Doherty’s Bill and use it as a vehicle to promote greater transparency”.