By: Louise Walsh
A Co. Meath motorist who was quoted over €19,000 to renew his car insurance has secured fully-comprehensive cover elsewhere - for less than €2,000
Slane publican Brian Kelly (48) is now geared up to continue his charity fundraising after a Co. Kerry insurance firm came to his aid, enabling him to continue driving.
Brian hit the headlines last week after Liberty Insurance - with whom he had been a customer for 17 years - quoted him a huge €19,368.26 to cover his 07 1.6 litre Toyota Avensis for 12 months.
Liberty now says the original quote was 'an error'.
The hike was up over €15,000 on last year's insurance costs and over €18,500 more than his 2016 insurance policy for €800.
Brian says he was told by Liberty Insurance, when he questioned the price, that the premium had risen because of two outstanding claims against him.
He said: "I'm in shock. Sure who could afford to pay €19,000 for car insurance? You'd buy a new car for that
The director of the suicide awareness voluntary group SOSAD (Save Our Sons and Daughters) admits to hitting two vehicles from behind on separate occasions but insists they were 'tips' and everything was sorted out on the day with little damage done and no injuries that he could see.
Brian was left devastated by the quote as his car was vital to him for SOSAD fundraising, but Killarney firm Gallivan, Murphy, Hooper and Dolan Insurances contacted him after seeing his plight and offered to insure him for €1862.
The offer was one of a number of quotes from insurance companies all over Ireland who tendered quotes of less than €4,000.
Bizarrely Brian says that Liberty also contacted him with a revisited quote of €6,000 - but only if he signed a contract to never speak to the media or radio about it again.
"I'm absolutely delighted today," he said
"These boys in Killarney really came to my aid. Only for all the coverage on radio and media I received, I'd never have heard of them. My public liability insurance is due on the pub soon so I think I'm also going to give them that business too.
"Thanks as well to all the other insurance brokers who looked me up and tried their hardest to get me a realistic quote for comprehensive cover. I have insurance cover again and I'm able to carry on my work
"It just goes to show you that claim culture is alive and well in Ireland and that there's no such thing as goodwill anymore. I hope the ongoing cases are investigated well. It just goes to show you why a lot of people are driving around uninsured - because they are priced out of affordable insurance.
"I hold up my hands to the separate accidents since Christmas 2016 but I wasn't going at speed when they occurred and I swopped insurance details and chatted to the drivers who told me they were fine. I was gobsmacked to hear of the personal injuries claims.
"Liberty did come back to me to drop their quote by €13,000 to €6,000 but said they'd only engage with me if I signed a form promising not to speak about the issue any further to the media. While I wish them well, I thought this was a disgusting way to treat a long-standing customer and a bad PR move to boot."
Gallivan Murphy Hooper Dolan Insurances (GMHD.ie) confirmed the cover, saying: "Motor insurance has become problematic for people in recent years and thankfully our expert team were able to provide the solution here.
"We were delighted to help Brian when he was in such a difficult situation."
Liberty Insurance said: "We can confirm that the original quote was given in error to this customer. We have apologised to the customer for any confusion or inconvenience caused.
"We have since amended our error and provided an insurance quote based on the customer's driving profile and experience to date."