[Sinn Fein]

21st August 2002

Immediate and radical steps needed to protect small businesses from massive insurance increases

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Employment, Trade & Consumer Affairs, Arthur Morgan TD, has called for ``immediate and radical'' steps to be taken to reduce insurance costs for small and medium sized enterprises. Deputy Morgan was speaking after the publication of a survey by The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association that indicated that many businesses had to cut their workforces as a result of being burdened with massively increased insurances costs over the last year.

Deputy Morgan said: ``The results of this survey only confirm what many of us have being witnessing over the last 12 months. Small businesses are going to the wall and livelihoods are being ruined because self-employed people or those running small enterprises cannot afford the outrageously excessive premiums being quoted by insurance companies. More and more you hear of people literally risking everything by conducting business without being properly covered. The government must stop sitting on its hands in relation to this matter and take immediate and radical steps to reduce insurance costs.

``It is obvious that self-regulation has not worked for the insurance industry. Recent reports, including the latest one from the Motor Insurance Advisory Board have shown Irish insurance companies to be amongst the most profitable in Europe. It is time that these companies and their partners in the legal profession were tackled head on and forced to take measures to reverse this spiralling trend.

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