Black hole: 'Insurance claims leave us facing crazy costs'
The owner of a family-run convenience store says that in his 40 years of business he has never seen anything as bad as Ireland's current insurance crisis.
Martin Mulligan, who also runs a petrol station and post office in Athlone, Co Westmeath, recently had his insurance premium hiked by 428pc.
He was notified by his insurance broker 10 days before the premium was up for renewal that it had increased from €7,000 to €30,000.
Mr Mulligan says there are a couple of personal injury claims pending against his store and now fears his business is heading down a "black hole".
"We are entirely at the mercy of non-controllable claims lodged against us," he told the Irish Independent.
"Even where we feel certain claims are spurious, they are still used by the insurer as a basis for increasing premia over time.
"We run a post office, convenience store and filling station and we just don't make that kind of money to cover these crazy insurance costs.
"If we don't get solutions quick, I fear for the future of our business and many across rural Ireland."
The father of three is head of the National Federation of Retailers - an organisation that represents 15,000 retailers throughout Ireland.
He accused the Government of having a laissez-faire attitude towards the behaviour of the insurance industry and legal profession - an attitude that is "killing businesses".
"The leaders of the main political parties tell you 'thank you for your email' but they're not doing anything to address the issue," he said.
"It's sad to see rural Ireland and businesses being decimated. "We're very quick to copy the United Kingdom on things like sugar tax but when it comes to introducing positive changes for small businesses and lower awards of minor injuries, that's a different story altogether."