Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has welcomed the news that the European Commission will investigate the alleged existence of a cartel among the insurance industry in Ireland.

According to An Teachta Tóibín;

“Small to medium enterprise is critical for the health of the Irish economy.  Yet small to medium sized businesses are being stuffed by input costs that are going through the roof. The most shocking of these is insurance costs.

“The government have spent that last two years achieving very little to reform the sector. Many businesses through Ireland will simply not last until the end of the year and thousands of jobs will go to the wall if the insurance sector is not tackled.

“It is not unusual to see premiums for businesses spiralling from €2,500 to €16,500 in the space of just a few years. I know of three businesses that have experienced this type of price inflation and have closed in the last six months. Many businesses are simply not having their insurance renewed by the insurance companies even though they have no claims. Their equivalent companies in Britain, have the same insurance providers but have no such problems.

“Drivers throughout the country are being put off the road most especially young drivers. My family was in a car accident ourselves two years ago. We were not seriously injured thankfully but we were told by someone in the legal industry that we could get €60,000 if we wanted without even turning up.

“The system in Ireland incentivises claimants and the legal industry but there is little incentive for the insurance industry to challenge the claimants even when they are fraudulent, with only 6% of cases going to court.

“Today’s news that the conditions imposed on companies wishing to access information may put competitors at a  competitive disadvantage on the Irish motor insurance market  will be investigated is good news. But much more is needed. Why is the Minister not setting up a Garda Insurance Fraud Squad?  Why has this not been put in place? Why do we have a system where only a tiny minority of claims make it to Court?  Why won’t the Minister consider claims that cover medical treatment and time off work in many cases?

“The system as currently exists is unfair and its impacting on many families and businesses. It has to change now.”