Tom Hannon, who provides employment for eight drivers at Tower Cabs, said the cheapest quote he got to insure the company’s eight vehicles was €53,000, from a UK firm.
The offer is €3,000 less than the €56,000 he was quoted to renew his policy with his current Irish insurance provider, Liberty.
Speaking at his home in Garryowen, Mr Hannon said he was “flabbergasted” by the skyrocketing price hike. He “never had a claim” on the 11-year-old policy.
Mr Hannon, 62, said: “It’s crazy. I’d eight cars insured for €7,000, then it went to €14,000, €16,000, and then last year, it went to €56,000. There was no explanation.
“I rang [Liberty] up, and they said to me that’s the way insurance is gone.”
Mr Hannon said he did not expect to be in business next year if his company’s insurance premium continued to shoot up.
“I can’t see myself in the taxi business, if it continues like this I’ll have to let the business go — it’s too hard,” he said.
“I considered the option of putting eight drivers out of business, but I’m going to try and continue a little bit and see how this year goes.”
He said he was worried and stressed.
“It’s even affecting my health. I’m feeling miserable, stressed the whole time, and depressed.”
Mr Hannon, who has 30 years’ trade experience, said there were “loads” of other taxi drivers in similar situations.
Last week, another Limerick cabbie, Alfie Earls, went public with his story after his insurance premium jumped €2,000 in one year with no accident or claims pending. While Mr Earls called for a national protest at rising insurance costs, Mr Hannon called on the Government to intervene.
He estimated that around 90 taxi drivers in the Limerick area alone had left the industry in the past 12 months.
“I’m working at a loss this year, between insurance, licence renewal, tax, service and maintenance, and radios,” he said. “I won’t be making anything out of it.”
Mr Hannon is currently paying about €2,300 to insure his own taxi with Axa.
Tony McNamara, the mid- west representative of the Irish Taxi Drivers Federation, said the rising cost of car insurance for taxi drivers had left the industry in serious decline.
“In my opinion, what’s going to happen is there won’t be enough taxis around because drivers can’t afford to pay the insurance,” he said.
“For example, a married man with a couple of children, on the social welfare will take home nearly €400 a week. For him to make that €400 in a taxi, he’d have to take in over €1,000, which is very, very hard to do.”
Mr Hannon is to appear in a UTV Ireland television documentary tonight discussing his experience of the motor insurance industry.
Insight: Motor Insurance, Why Are We Paying Too Much? at 8pm, UTV Ireland.