Every year, publicans are seeing premiums climb an average of 20%...
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has warned that its members are struggling to deal with an average annual increase of 20% in the cost of insurance.
Publicans hit by these hikes are concerned that the expense will ultimately threaten their businesses and that the yearly rate at which insurance premiums are rising is not "sustainable".
In a survey of its 550 members – which represents the majority of Dublin pubs – the LVA found that insurance costs climbed roughly 20% between 2014 and 2015, and the same amount again between 2015 and 2016.
The association is now calling on the Government to urgently carry out an independent review of the business insurance market.
LVA chief executive Donall O'Keeffe said:
"Insurance costs for Dublin publicans are a very serious expense, typically ranging from €15,000 to €25,000 per annum.
"However, many larger LVA members, especially in the late bar scene, are facing premiums of €50,000 to €100,000 per annum. Such increases are simply not sustainable."
The LVA is particularly concerned with how the claims system is functioning, as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) – established to lower costs – is often bypassed when cases are settled directly by insurers.
O'Keeffe feels there is a lack of transparency over how these claims are settled and that big payouts and false or exaggerated claims are behind the increases in the cost of insurance.
He wants the Government to expand the remit of the Oireachtas Joint committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform – which is currently focussed on the motor insurance industry – to include business insurance.
"Action must be taken immediately," O'Keeffe said, "Before these outrageous increases force businesses to the brink, putting jobs at risk in the process."