One of the bigger names in motorcycle insurance, MCE, has announced that it intends to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland market, at the end of this month.
In a statement on the MCE website the well know bike insurer, which sponsors the Ulster GP, commented;
In an era of uncertainty during Brexit negotiations, MCE Insurance have made the decision to cease trading in the Republic of Ireland commencing Friday 30th March 2018.
With the interest of minimising any disruptions to customers, we will strive to make the transitionary period as smooth as possible, allowing already live policies to run off and complete a full term with a level of service and commitment from us that is unwavering. We will also continue to administer and settle claims and cooperate with the relevant authorities so a fair and legal option is provided for customers.
If you are an existing Republic of Ireland customer please don’t hesitate to call on the number provided for more information, we will be sending an email confirming full details before your renewal date and one of the team will also give you a call.
We apologise for the inconvenience caused by this transition, we assure you we are equally disappointed.
WILL OTHER INSURERS PULL OUT OF IRELAND?
CAROLE NASH LIKELY TO STAY
Insurance costs for bikers are notoriously high for the Republic and it’s possible that other big names may also decide that the costs of maintaining an office, separate accounting, compliance issues etc makes Ireland an unprofitable area. But will this mindset affect the bigger names currently active? Probably not – they have too much invested in Ireland.
One of the first UK brands in bike insurance to venture into Ireland was Carole Nash, (CN) who opened an office back in the late 1990s. Since the Groupama purchase, CN expanded their Dublin office in 2015, and having been bought by Ardonagh/Towergate, the CN brand seems likely to remain one of the bigger players in the Irish market, post-Brexit having invested so much into Ireland over the last two decades.
Carole Nash is the headline sponsor of the Irish Motorbike Show, held at the RDS in Dublin and AXA, who underwrite the policies, have also declared their commitment to the Ireland market today.
CORNMARKET ALREADY OUT
Cornmarket has already stated that it intends to quit the Irish market, with a statment issued back on 1st July 2017. MAG Ireland, the bikers action group who did so much to woo Carole Nash – and others -into the market to challenge Norwich Union’s near monopoly in the 1990s, expressed `disappointment’ that a rival company was pulling out.
PRINCIPAL WILL STAY THE COURSE
Former Carole Nash (CN) staffer Dave Bowcock went on to found Principal in 2011, trading from offices based in Sale, Cheshire. Principal already claims to insure around 10 percent of Irish motorcycles and the brokerage also offers cover for vans, cars and household.
Just like Carole Nash, Principal has AXA behind it, so it seems highly likely that Principal will stick with the Irish market, and it would certainly be a a bit of oneupmanship if Principal stayed the course and CN withdrew at some point.
LIBERTY SET TO STAY
Liberty Insurance may appear a small fish, judging by its modest bike insurance website, but this is part of a huge US-based company, which employs 50,000 people worldwide. Liberty stepped in when flagship insurer Quinn collapsed and Liberty racked up losses of Euro22 million as it sought to establish itself since 2011.
Given that Liberty withdrew from the UK market to focus on turning around its Irish operation, it would be astonishing if they packed up after taking on the challenge.
Interestingly Liberty conducted a survey in Ireland which found 82 percent `thought a claims culture existed in Ireland, and 44 percent would not whistle-blow on fraud.’