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In a second case, the customer slipped and fell in the shop and broke her arm. The insurance company paid out €34K. “While these are not bogus claims as such, there is an an increase in the number of people claiming and the amount the insurance companies are paying out without going to court. I feel people are encouraged to claim as the payouts are so large and they go unchallenged,” the shop owner commented.

Case 4. Another shop-owner currently has four claims involving Polish employees. An employee who has returned to Poland rang him to let him know that she got a call from a solicitor in Ireland encouraging her to take a claim for any injury she might have incurred. She was told that it would not affect her employer as the insurance company would be paying. The former employee was not comfortable with this and phoned the shop-owner.

He is insured with Aviva and made them aware of this. He says they are good at backing up their clients and do not pay out without question.

Case 5 - A shop-owner reported that a woman got paid €40K resulting from her slipping on a potato on the shop floor and breaking her hip. The insurance company settled before going to Court. The shop-owner in question had no proof of what happened. His premium was increased by €2,000 following this claim.

Case 6 – A shop-owner had a claim from a customer who said he slipped in the shop and hurt his knee. This happened on a day that the cameras were down (which might happen once or twice a year) The customer was out of work for a week and wanted to be reimbursed for that week’s wages. This member’s solicitor advised him to pay. The member’s insurance premium went up by 20%.

Case 7: A shop-owner had a claim for a slip at the door of his shop. The building next door was getting power hosed and the woman slipped on the wet ground. She had a soft tissue injury and the Personal Injuries Board suggested an award of €17,400. Next door owner refused to get involved. Shop-owner has refused to pay this and his insurance company are supporting him. This is an ongoing claim.

Case 8. Shop-owner has two claims involving customers. One relates to a fall which happened a year and a half ago, and he no longer has CCTV footage of the incident. The two main witnesses no longer work for him, and have left the country. Shop-owner thinks that a the two year statute of limitations is too long. He thinks if that could be reduced it would be a huge help.

The second claim relates to a young boy who was not looking where he was going and cycled into a bollard in the carpark. The onus is on the shop-owner to prove he was not negligent.

Tara Buckley, RGDATA Director General said that the persistent complaint from retailers is that insurance companies are too eager to settle claims for a nuisance value and do not vigorously resist claims that are spurious or bogus. She said that it is important that insurers invest in resisting claims, rather than settling them for a nominal or nuisance value.

“ Insurance companies need to take a tougher line on bogus and spurious claims against retailers. All too often retailers learn after the event that their insurers have paid off spurious claimants without their consent. In some cases these costs are considerable – in one case ranging up to €30,000, but more typically paying off €3,000 - €7,000. Insurance companies need to invest in resisting such

claims. Otherwise they are encouraging a “Have a go at retailers” culture which will sustain more claims and damage business and employment”

Buckley also called on the Insurance industry to maintain a database of solicitors firms that are most often involved in prosecuting claims that are found to be bogus or spurious. She said that the solicitors on the database should be challenged by the Law Society to determine what steps they are taking to establish the veracity of these claims at an early stage.

RGDATA will be asking the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs to investigate the rising number of these claims and to seek a new commitment from the insurance sector to invest in resisting bogus and spurious claims.

ENDS.

For further information please contact: Kathleen Cahill, Communications Manager, RGDATA.

Ph: 01 2887584/Mob: 087-6989191/Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RGDATA: The Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association is the representative association for over 4,000 independent family owned grocery shops, convenience stores, forecourt stores and supermarkets in Ireland.

RGDATA is the longest established retail trade association representing the independent grocery sector for over 70 years.

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