- NEED FOR SUPERTAX ON INSURANCE COMPANY PROFITS UNLESS THEIR BEHAVIOUR CHANGES
- MANDATORY REPORTING REQUIRED FOR SOLICITORS ADVANCING BOGUS OR EXAGERATTED CLAIMS
RGDATA, the organisation representing the independent retail grocery sector in Ireland, has called on the Government to immediately introduce emergency measures to prevent further business closures due to high insurance costs. The group believes that strong action needs to be taken by Government if the behaviour of the two key vested interests involved is to really change.
Specifically, RGDATA is proposing that the Government should copy the approach taken to dealing with bankers’ bonuses by introducing a Supertax on the profits of insurance companies, if the levels of premiums do not start to come down sharply.
Three major insurers in Ireland made profits last year of €200m at a time when many customers are being fleeced with rising insurance costs and challenges in getting cover. These levels of profitability cannot be justified at a time when customers are in huge difficulties getting and keeping cover.
RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley commented;
“When bankers threatened to reintroduce bonuses for top staff at a time when many customers were struggling, the Government responded with a Supertax which stopped bankers in their tracks. The prospect of a similar tax on insurers, whether through a levy on them or otherwise in October’s budget would be a game changer. It would compel them to adjust their behaviour and actions or else face penal taxation rates. The choice would be theirs. At present the insurers are benefitting from the reform but channelling their change into their shareholders’ pockets rather than supporting their struggling policy holders. This has to stop now.”
Buckley also called for new responsibilities to be imposed on solicitors prosecuting personal injury claims on behalf of clients. In light of changes requiring solicitors to verify the authenticity of asylum claims, she said that similar measures should be imposed on personal injury cases.
“Some solicitors act as if they are spectators and disclaim any knowledge or responsibility when bogus or exaggerated claims are uncovered. Solicitors should be compelled to put clients on proof of claims made and damages alleged. And where a Court throws out a case for being exaggerated or fraudulent, there should be a mandatory referral of the prosecuting solicitor to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority to determine if he or she breached their professional duties or were actively complicit in misleading a Court and the business defending the claim.”
Tara Buckley said that it was now patently clear that the insurance crisis will not be solved until the Government actively tackles the vested interests in the insurance and legal sectors who have so far presented themselves as uninvolved spectators.
“A tough and unrelenting approach is required from Government now – otherwise more businesses will close, jobs will be lost and communities will lose key services and community facilities. The Government needs to tackle the vested interests holding up progress in this area by targeting them where it will make a difference.”