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Insurance Premium Increases

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will establish an independent review of the effect upon business in Northern Ireland of recent increases in insurance premiums. [99321]

The current difficulties in the insurance market are having a particularly adverse impact on a predominantly Small and Medium Enterprise based economy such as that in Northern Ireland. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has conducted a business survey on insurance costs. It indicates an average increase of 28 per cent. in 2001 and further an average increase of 49 per cent. in 2002 particularly (but not exclusively) in employers' liability and property insurance. The results of this survey will be fed into Government's current review in which my officials are participating. The outcome of the review will be reported to Ministers by the end of March 2003.