There is no denying it, the current insurance market in Ireland is a challenging one, as it is for the insurance industry itself. Business is experiencing what is termed a ‘hard insurance market’, which means higher renewal rates, less competition, a growing claims culture and generally poor risk-management practices. There’s not much that we can take control of in this scenario, and this can be explained by the following 5 evidence-based facts that you need to know while currently operating a commercial business in Ireland.
- Ireland is one of the most litigious countries in the EU, with frequency of claims & cost of claims rising year-on-year
- Large variation in court judgements result in new precedents and an ever-increasing ‘payment ceiling’ effect
- Because of an existing loophole that is not being addressed, claimants can avoid the Injuries Board and claim through private solicitors, thereby dramatically increasing costs for insurers and directly impacting insurance premiums
- Preventive safety measures are not sufficiently implemented within business operations to support the prevention and defence of incidents, accidents and consequential claims
- On average, there is a general lack of ownership and accountability from the employer, customer and employee for their own personal safety and risk awareness,
According to industry experts the ‘hard-insurance market’ is set to continue for the foreseeable future and the growing claims culture in our country in also set to continue. We are at the stage now where a higher number of people are likely to ‘play the system’ and try to claim where usually they would not behave in such a manner. The reality is that operating a commercial business in Ireland automatically means that you are not playing on a fair playing field. However, evidence shows that all is not lost in fighting back against the current reality. Research shows that no matter what your business is, if you take the time and energy to foster a proactive safety culture, you can mitigate a large percentage of the factors that lead to unsafe behaviours and conditions that lead to incidents, accidents and consequential claims.
What Other Information can Insurance Companies use to Assess Client Risk?
THE OPERATIONAL REALITY
To begin to address the challenge outlined above, it is important that businesses admit two important things: 1) Operating a business comes with hazards depending on a number of variables; 2) Many businesses are unaware of their legal responsibilities, risk variables and HOW to establish a Proactive Safety Culture when it comes to managing risk in their business. It is a fact that the operational space is highly dynamic with multiple hazards leading to risk in a number of different areas on a daily basis.
For example, a recent piece of research examining the factors that lead to claims in the Retail Sector across a significant sample demonstrates that Slip, Trip & Fall is responsible for 50.6% of all claims within the sector (both public & employee liability). Reference the figure below to see in more depth the risk factors that lead to incidents and consequential claims in the Retail Sector. Similar figures are apparent in the property management, hospitality and manufacturing sectors (with the latter more affected by EL issues including manual handling, RSI and behavioural inconsistencies).