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Calls for Government to intervene over insurance claims

Some firms have offered customers money back.

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Insurance claims are on the rise due to coronavirus (Niall Carson/PA)

Insurance claims are on the rise due to coronavirus (Niall Carson/PA)

Insurance claims are on the rise due to coronavirus (Niall Carson/PA)

There have been calls for the Government to intervene in the controversy surrounding the refusal of some insurers to offer rebates to their customers.

Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty said there are major issues within the insurance industry.

Mr Doherty told the Dail that, despite calls from Central Bank for the insurance industry to offer rebates to customers, insurers are refusing to do so.

He said: “They’re still refusing to offer premium reductions or rebates to motorists, despite a sharp decline in cars on the road and the number of claims that are being made.”

As thousands of small businesses are battling for survival, insurance companies are determined to make the battle harder by refusing to pay out on business interruptionPearse Doherty

The Donegal TD also raised the issue of firms struggling to get business interruption payouts as some insurance companies claim their policies are not covered by the health pandemic.

Business owners may be forced to take court action over the non-payments.

Mr Doherty added: “As thousands of small businesses are battling for survival, insurance companies are determined to make the battle harder by refusing to pay out on business interruption despite it being written in black and white and their insurance contracts.

“We need to step in. We need to ensure that the Central Bank do what I’d request them, that they audit the way that these insurance companies are handling these claims.”

Meanwhile, the Minister for Finance has said that Ireland’s economy and employment can grow again next year.

In his statement to the Dail, Paschal Donohoe said that the State’s economy and labour market are very resilient and have “real underlying strengths that this crisis will not have altered”.

He added: “In particular, the internationally traded sectors of our economy like technology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices have shown themselves to be highly resilient during the current crisis.

“Moreover, we have entered recession because of a health crisis – not because of imbalances or mismanagement of the economy.

“In fact, none of the imbalances that characterised our economy previously – credit growth, borrowing from abroad through a balance of payments deficit – are evident at present.”

Mr Donohoe said that once the pandemic is contained, the State is in a position to recover well.

He said the gradual recovery assumed in the second half of the year is projected to gain momentum next year, with the economy growing by 6%.

Mr Donohoe said he expects economic activity to reach its pre-crisis level in 2022.

“A central focus of our recovery effort will be getting as many people back to work as the public health situation allows,” he added.

“We want to make the recovery a job-rich one like the recovery from the financial crisis and we will ensure that the right policies are put in place to deliver this in the context of a fundamentally different ‘new normal’ in our economy.

“Indeed, for next year, we project that employment will grow by 5.5% – in other words, an additional 115,000 jobs and that this will reduce the unemployment rate to below 10%.”

Outlining the budgetary situation for this year, Mr Donohoe warned of a sharp deterioration in the public finances.

“A general Government deficit of 23 billion euro, or 7.4% of GDP, is now expected,” he added.

“This projection is based on policy decisions already made, it excludes those yet to be made.

“If economic recovery is delayed, this could be as large as 30 billion euro, about 10% of GDP.”

PA