The owner of a car salvage company said insurance companies are “taking the cookie” after his premium doubled to €48,000 – despite having had no claim against the company for 15 years.
Erry Green runs Green Vehicle Recycling (GVR) in Letterkenny, Co Donegal and is urging the government to help small businesses with extortionate insurance costs.
The Alliance for Insurance Reform has identified up to 50 sectors currently unable to get affordable insurance, and fears are mounting about the closure of dozens of businesses.
Mr Green employs five people and since starting his business in 2007 there have been no claims for accidents or personal injury.
He criticized insurance companies for making offers “at the eleventh hour” when business owners have no choice but to pay or have to close.
Last year his premium was €24,000 but this year he was quoted €48,000 on the due date of his renewal.
“I’m very concerned about my business,” he said Irish Independent.
“To be perfectly honest, if I had a way out, I’d be gone. I would be better off driving a truck up and down the street a few days a week than working for myself.
“We have the Greens in government and the tail is wagging the dog. They set national policy, but they come with unattainable goals. If the government is serious about making recycling work in the country, they need to step in and do something about the insurance.”
The number of insurance companies willing to cover breaker yards has shrunk in recent years. Only one insurer has made Mr. Green an offer for his business.
He was looking for insurance to cover public liability, employer’s liability and road risk for his trucks.
“I’ve paid hundreds of thousands in insurance premiums over the past 15 years. Every time the insurance needs to be renewed they get this bull about fires in junkyards but my stock isn’t insured so they won’t be held liable if my stock is damaged in a fire.”
He contacted Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty, who wrote to his insurer twice but received no response.
“The little people who put their hearts and souls into their businesses will lose, not the big multinationals that can afford it,” Mr Green said.
Mr Green has five children. Two of his daughters work in Dublin, while his youngest daughter will soon be going to college in the capital.
His youngest son works at GVR and his other son moves to Australia.
The lack of livelihood and housing also affected his children.
“One of my daughters had to move out in June because the landlord was selling and since then she hasn’t found a suitable or affordable place to live so she’s staying with her sister, which isn’t ideal.
“My youngest son is here, but no one wants to leave their children with a business that would involve such large expenses because the pressure that comes with it is unbearable.”
Peter Boland, director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, said the number of small businesses turning to the group for massive increases has “increased”.
“It is frightening that such a progressive, damage-free environmental company is threatened existentially by insurance costs. The future of Ireland’s environment depends on companies like this,” he said.
“The common denominator among most companies that struggle is that there is only one underwriter willing to put together an offer and
that insurer can charge whatever they want. The government must act before it is too late for many SMEs.”
At the request of Irish IndependentSeán Fleming, Minister of State for Insurance, insisted the government’s plans were working and that personal injury guidelines continued to cut car premiums and that insurance in general was 4.1 percent lower than last July, despite rising inflation.
Mr Fleming added that further reforms were needed.
“This includes reforming the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and refocusing due diligence, which I believe will make a significant difference for companies struggling to access insurance,” he said.
“I will be meeting with the Alliance for Insurance Reform in the coming weeks to discuss these matters.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/i-am-very-concerned-for-my-business-owner-of-vehicle-recycling-firm-sees-his-insurance-premium-double-to-48000-41963696.html “I’m very worried about my company” – the owner of a car recycling company sees his insurance premium double to 48,000 euros