Updated: 08/07/17 : 11:26:33
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Sligo business owners worried at high insurance premiums

Following the raids by the competition authorities this week on four insurance firms -  Aon, Marsh, Campion Insurance in Dublin and Wexford-based Wright Insurance Brokers – a spokesman for the European Commission, which has made it clear that the inspections do not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour.

As a result of spiralling motor insurance premiums a number of Irish road hauliers have painted a worrying picture of the haulage industry.

“We’re struggling to stay in business,” Stephen Mullen, the owner of Tubbercurry based Sligo Haulage and Distribution told The Irish Times.

Mr Mullen employs more than 40 people, has 15 trucks and 15 vans on the road, and has worked in the industry for 35 years.

Mr Mullen’s insurance more than doubled the last time he renewed, to €82,000. He believes insurance is going to destroy the logistics industry.

In addition to insurance-related woes he sees red tape as another factor that chips away at his company’s bottom line. “There’s so much red tape. To be honest, I don’t want to be in business any more,” he said.

'Blatant rip-off'

Verona Murphy, president of the Irish Road Haulage Association and the owner of Verona Murphy Transport in Co Wexford, said the premium increases have become punishing.

“My insurance went up 300 per cent with a full no claims bonus... in the last three months. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

On private motoring insurance, Ciarán McCarthy, managing editor of Sligo Today has seen his fully comprehensive premium rise from €365 in 2014 to €1,107 on his annual renewal last month.

He said, "There can be no excuse for this blatant rip-off, I passed my driving test in 1972 and have been driving accident free since then, no penalty points, no convictions and still my premium has more than trebled in three years - with no explanation from my insurer other than 'that's the way it is' and a take it or leave it attitude, Shopping around no longer appears to be working as there is little difference in all quotations."

John Duffy has been operating a freight business in Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal, since 1980. His company has 67 vehicles on the road and employs 88 people.

“In 2015, our insurance was €99,000. In 2016, it was €152,000 and this year it’s €233,000. In order to keep at that price we’ve had to go from fully comprehensive to third party on vehicles older than 2012,” Mr Duffy said, adding that it could “lead to uninsured vehicles on the road”.