Insurance costs hurt small businesses

 

Sir, –Business owners are entirely fed up with the pantomime fight between lawyers and insurers over the cost of insurance, when both extract many hundreds of millions of euro annually from our sector.

Quantum drives claims, and quantum is set exclusively in the courts. The fact that less than 10 per cent of cases are settled in court is irrelevant. Defendants would fight more cases if they could afford to do so.

Soft tissue “injuries” attracting €20,000 or more in general damages in Ireland are not even recognised as medical diagnoses in most countries. We now have doctors ringing us in ISME to tell us that 10 per cent or more of their patients attend only for a soft-tissue injury report. An orthopaedic surgeon recently told me her patient wanted an MRI scan because “his lawyer ordered it”.

Business owners seeking affordable insurance do not seek to delimit the constitutional rights of others. They simply want our Government, our courts and our lawyers to recognise that they too have constitutional rights: to property, and to earn a living. These rights are being trampled daily by a greedy, toxic compensation culture that is facilitated in the first instance by the legal profession. – Yours, etc,

NEIL McDONNELL,

Chief Executive,

ISME,

The Irish SME Association,

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.