Our members are clearly of the view that the insurance system for Irish business in this country is completely broken and the need for systemic reform of the insurance industry in Ireland is now acute. This was never clearer than over recent weeks, when the mood of the country was galvanised, and the frustration of our members was palpable. Retail is an industry that is particularly exposed to excessive and false claims and it’s the number one concern for the majority of members that we speak with. What should be a basic utility is completely out of control, with retailers reporting that their premiums are increasing this year by as much as 50%. This is completely unsustainable.

With this in mind, Retail Excellence this week convened a crisis insurance meeting, that brought together representatives of some of Ireland’s leading retailers to discuss the cost of insurance in retail and how to respond. Attendees heard from Peter Boland from the Alliance for Insurance Reform on the priorities for insurance reform and legislative updates, and from Andrew O’Connor and Paul Cummins from risk management specialists SeaChange, talking about how stores can manage their premiums downwards.

As well as campaigning for reform on your behalf in the media and in representations to elected representatives, Retail Excellence is also a leading member of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, the most influential and prominent body that includes representatives from a wide range of industries and sectors. Alliance Director Peter Boland presented the results of a recent survey of all Alliance members, with some stark findings:

  • Liability insurance has risen by 204% over the last five years; with the retail industry’s premiums rising by even more – 212% over the same time;
  • 63% of respondents have been hit with increased excesses or new exclusions to their policy
  • 49% of respondents say rising insurance costs are threatening the future of the organisation
  • 95% say Government is not doing enough to address the issue of insurance costs

Paul and Andrew from SeaChange then challenged attendees to look at their own organisations to see how better controls might be put in place to mitigate risks for slips, trips and falls in store, and how a more positive attitude from staff towards safety issues can be adopted.

Finally, the meeting discussed how members can work together to resolve the issue, by contacting local TDs, to highlight how the issue is impacting on economic growth, tax revenue, on the viability of stores and putting some of the 285,000 retail jobs in jeopardy.

Looking to the future, there were a number of positive suggestions from the floow and Retail Excellence will take this forward. We will continue to work hard on your behalf to lobby for legislative change and to increase coverage in the media. Meanwhile, the group agreed that the most effective way in the short term to gain traction on the issue was for members to directly contact elected representatives at a local level through a ‘grassroots’ campaign. We will be in contact with members shortly to give members some boiler-plate text, advice on how to approach this, and the contact details for TDs in your constituency. Meanwhile, an informative fact-sheet from the Alliance for Insurance Reform is available for reference below. The Alliance will be circulating this via social media shortly.

Slides from both presentations are available in the Members Area of our website, under ‘presentations’ (password required, if you would like to be reminded of the password please contact info@retailexcellence.ie)


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