Sunday, February 7, 2021

High Court Ruling Ireland's Insurance For Lost Earnings

 My icing on the cake insight today, is that insurance companies will only honour a policy and pay a claim, if they themselves can claim and cover the cost of it from another insurance company. This bodes ill for their unregulated and unethical customer service and response to insured companies, facing a significant loss of earnings due to government-imposed restrictions.


I shared recently my excitement that a UK court had ruled that insurance companies had to honour claims for loss of earning. Obviously there’s no reason why not as presumably that is why they are insured for this sort of disastrous eventuality. Surely not every claim can be refused as insurance fraud or through finding an exemption in the small print.  Unfortunately our Paschal Donoghoe says he can only ask that insurance companies be fair, in each individual case.  Imagine how helpful it would have been, if he had made a statement that the government expected insurance companies to pay? Only one or two companies have enough money to bring the insurance companies to court and we can only hope and pray for a decision that ripples into law as a precedent that of course companies are covered. Come on insurance companies, just because you’re a financial services, doesn’t mean your industry is all profit. You are offering a service as well. Well, supposed to be. 


I wrote to the Green Party when the court ruling in the UK happened and asked whether Ireland would follow suit. Kindly, Kilkenny’s great TD Malcolm Noonan’s office  sent me the Minister of Finance’s response. 


“Frances, the most up to the date comments from the Minister for Finance about business disruption insurance – delivered just a few days ago on 28/01/21 – can be found here: Covid-19 Pandemic Supports – Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 – Parliamentary Questions (33rd Dáil) – Houses of the Oireachtas


“… we have both had a number of engagements with the insurance industry on this issue, and have made it very clear that insurers should not attempt to reject claims on the basis of interpreting policies to their own advantage. They should engage with those impacted businesses honestly, fairly and professionally to honour those elements of the policies covered, in line with the CBI’s Consumer Protection Code. “


Basically he is saying that he has asked insurers to be fair and honest and not interpret contracts to their own advantage.


!!!!!!! Don’t laugh….or you will cry.


Let’s consider ‘insurance’ for a moment. 


Companies have arbitrarily put up the cost of insurance, year on year, in the last ten years doubling it at least. My car insurance is a great example. I have a ‘no claims bonus’ since I was 19 (30 years) I have no points on my license and not even a parking ticket history. My insurance was €300 maximum and then suddenly it was €800, but if I argued the toss, the company would agree to bring it down to €725. But then they would put it back up to €800 if I needed to pay it monthly. 


The best cars to insure

Is insurance cheap if the car is old, nearly a classic , well maintained and a totally reliable Japanese model with solid bodywork? You might have thought so as it is not worth that much and would not necessitate a big payout if it was written off. No, because an old car is considered to be ‘more likely to be in an accident’. This is nonsense of course as the cars would not be still on the road ….with drivers with lifetime-long no claims bonuses… if they were any sort of liability.


Is insurance cheap if the car is new and regularly upgraded? No, because it is ‘more valuable and would cost more to replace’. 


God forbid, you move into a city for a couple of years and do not need car insurance for a time. My great friend with a clean license and no claims for 25 years was quoted €2,300 to get a car on the road…well the insurance bit.


Paying out

Quite apart from ‘excess’ – which is when the insured party has had to agree they pay the first 600 or 6000 of a claim depending on its size (regardless of the many years insurance has been continually paid and provided) 


AND the multitude of caveats when it comes to making a claim that make it a purely prohibitive exercise; such as making future insurance far more expensive.


The icing on the cake was when I decided to make a claim and was told that they would only honour the claim if there was a third party involved. I asked if they were saying that they would only ever pay insurance if there was another party’s insurance company they could charge the payment costs on to? He said yes. 


This is obviously a problem for businesses now as the minister says they are on their own in negotiating with their insurers. There is no 3rd party and no government stance in their favour.


In fact, the minister is only talking to the banks and the insurance companies. – only talking to the financial services, who pay no tax (remember the MEP on hunger strike, so determined was he that asking a miniscule tax on financial transactions could and might be the only way to save our economies. At present they make no contribution.  But still, the minister doesn’t talk to the producers and services and tax paying businesses. 


Maybe he thinks they are part of the populist masses now. He has made many speeches on populism. Not one, though, I notice challenging the systemic Capitalist assault on all life for profit (Switzer).


I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Donohoe gets to the pearly gates and Peter asks why did you block every chance the Irish people and then later the European people had of making a living or sustaining themselves? Who exactly did you sell your soul too or was it just franticly superior role ego and ignorance that you clung to all your adult life? 


Anyway, all businesses can do is hope the two companies win that took their insurance companies to court for refusing their claims. That would set a precedent. But don’t let anyone forget that the government prop up the insurance companies too, so the courts won’t want to go against that little relationship either. Remember when Shell were repeatedly contaminating the water but still our EPA wanted to grant them the license to drill for gas? What did the government do? They paid 100million to AXA to insure Shell against damage. Yes, I know, when Shell trashes Ireland’s environment, an Irish company must pay out, from a policy that the Irish government paid for in the first place. No accountability anywhere. 


Except, if we all start writing to the papers and to Minister Fleming (who is also mentioned in the article and might have more integrity) you could argue that the government does have the power to insist that insurance companies fill the black void in Ireland’s economics, just as the UK are insisting they should over there.


Ireland was humiliated by the church for long enough, the minister for finance will not make us slaves to his Central Bank pals for the next generation. We will insist he lets us have the public banks we need. 


Look at what the Indian farmers are doing – protesting new laws that say hybrid gmo seeds and chemical fertilizers and pesticides must be used. Look at the 4 new public banks in the US – devised to provide credit to whole areas – businesses, food and services and independent of private banks and their debt-based credit, inflated mortgage rates and crippling, totally unnecessary, interest. The only reason Ireland didn’t get it’s public banks in 2015, 16, 17, 18, 19 or 20 is because Minister Donohoe is blocking their legislation. It is a direct sabotage of the whole country’s and next generation’s future. I know karma catches up with everyone but one still hopes and prays that the greedy insurance companies, banks and individual public servants (!!!!??? Sounds old-fashioned I know but I had to remind people that that is what the government is supposed to be comprised of) wake up before they die. Wake up in what way? To the fact, they are backing the wrong horse. Flogging the dead horse in fact and their own offspring are going to suffer. 


I used to half laugh at Kim Jung Un as he posed smiling gleefully on a nuclear submarine, astride a missile. I thought to myself what sort of plonker tests nuclear weapons on their own shore. Then our very own Simon Coveney got caught up in the meglamania as well and we saw the front cover with his quote ‘I want to make Ireland the nuclear weapons testing ground of Europe’    Holy Moses, these psychos have insidiously taken over the asylum. We have no idea what they have been rolling out while the population has been confined to their houses. But one thing is sure, there is not one shred of protecting human life going on.