27 March 2020
By Elaine Murphy
The Finance Minister must take a harder line on insurance companies “trying to weasel out of crisis payouts”, says Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan
Cork South West Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan is urging the government to take a harder line on insurance companies following reports some are trying to weasel out of paying out claims to businesses shut down by the COVID-19 crisis.
Thousands of pubs and restaurants closed last week as the country stepped up measures to combat the spreading virus.
Earlier this week the Irish Times reported small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with infectious disease cover are being told a pandemic is not included in the policy, or that the deadly Covid-19 was not listed as an infectious disease.
“These are weasel-words, and frankly insurance companies, in a time of crisis, trying to manipulate their own policies in their own favour is an all new low,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.
Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe has called on insurers not to reject the claims.
He needs to go much further, Deputy O’Sullivan said.
“The finance minister must take a much harder line on the insurance giants. He needs to bring their executives into his office and not let them leave until it’s written in stone that our hard working business owners will not be abandoned,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.
“Regardless of the fine print, insurance companies need to step up and do their bit and back these businesses up. These businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and without these payouts they may never get back on their feet.
“Many closed their doors for the public good, and at huge personal cost. It is utterly disheartening and disappointing to hear business owners are being abandoned at a time when the whole country is trying to pull together to combat this crisis.”