Business insurance hikes not recorded, warns ISME
The majority of small firms say they are being hit with huge increases in business and motor insurance premiums, but these hikes are not being captured by official statistics.
Lobby group ISME said a survey it has compiled shows that 85pc of firms have experienced a rise in employers' liability insurance. A third of firms are seeing premium rises of between 6pc and 15pc.
It said the fact that the Central Statistics Office (CSO) does not capture insurance costs for firms needs to be rectified.
Businesses suspect that insurers have stopped increasing private motor and home premiums, as they are captured by the CSO. Instead, insurers are hiking business insurance and commercial motor premiums as these rate changes are not reported by the State statisticians.
In its latest quarterly business trends survey, ISME - headed by ISME CEO Neil McDonnell - found that 81pc of member firms have been hit with a rise in business insurance, such as employer liability and public liability cover.
And 77pc of firms surveyed reported having to pay higher premiums for their motor insurance cover.
Junior minister with responsibility for insurance reform Michael D'Arcy said recently that insurers are now refusing to cover businesses in many sectors due to the high levels of awards.
He said the high level of insurance payouts in Ireland is encouraging members of the public to "lawyer up".
Children's play centres across the country are facing huge hikes in premiums - when they can get a quote.
Linda Murray, who runs Huckleberry's Den in Navan, has claimed exaggerated insurance claims will force children's play centres to shut down.
She has vowed to go down fighting after failing to get insurance renewed on her own play centre, where premiums have spiralled from €2,500 to €16,500 in just five years.
She has two claims pending, and has been refused cover and may now have to close her Co Meath facility, with the loss of 12 jobs.
The CSO said it is preparing to publish a feasibility study on collecting price information on the cost of business insurance. It hopes to publish this study within the next two weeks.
The feasibility study focuses on employers' liability and public liability insurance.
Its research has found that very few other countries are compiling statistics on business insurance and it is a difficult area to measure, said CSO director of business statistics Joe Treacy.