17/02/2003

Neeson calls for NI insurance investigation

Alliance Assembly member Sean Neeson has called for an independent investigation into the role of insurance companies in Northern Ireland.

Mr Neeson was speaking ahead of the launch of the Federation of Small Businesses Insurance Survey on high insurance premiums affecting Northern Ireland small businesses.

Mr Neeson, the former Deputy Chair of the assembly's Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, will be speaking at the survey launch in Parliament Buildings on Tuesday morning.

Mr Neeson said: "One of the biggest concerns of many businesses and other organisations in Northern Ireland has been the huge hike in insurance premiums. A great deal of blame has been placed on the events of September 11, and while I accept that there are global issues, the reality is that a number of businesses have already been forced to close because of higher insurance premiums.

"Only this week, an organisation in my own constituency of East Antrim has been faced with a 10-fold increase in premiums and naturally this is causing major problems."

Mr Neeson said that while this is a UK-wide issue, Northern Ireland, in all aspects of insurance, seemed to be paying higher premiums. It was for this reason that he was calling for an independent investigation into the role of insurance companies here.

(MB)

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