European companies are “laughing” at the thought of the damage the insurance crisis is causing in Ireland.
Event organisers are warning that ticket prices for festivals and shows are set to rise even further due to the soaring cost of insurance premiums and costs.
Agricultural shows have seen insurance costs rising by up to 25% - with standard public liability insurance increasing by an average of 16%.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, the head of the Alliance for Insurance Reform Peter Boland said the insurance crisis is finally coming to a head after slowly building for years.
He said the pressure on companies is becoming “unbearable” – with the recent 16% public liability increase coming no top of “mad increases” in previous years.
“This issue is unique to Ireland in a European context,” he said.
“The likes the Irish Association for Adventure Tourism will regularly be meeting their European counterparts and their European counterparts laugh at the thought that insurance could be doing the damage it is doing in Ireland.
“This is not only damaging to businesses, it’s also hampering our competition because obviously tourism is a very competitive industry.”
He said we need urgent Government intervention to tackle the crisis.
“By all the available metrics, Ireland is one of the safest countries in Europe by a long way but vested interests, whose sole interest is making money out of the sector, have had a free run of it for a long time and essentially, that’s at the heart of it,” he said.
He said recent actions including judicial guidelines reform, duty of care reform and the upcoming reform of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board are all effective responses – but we need much more urgency.
“All the right things are being done the problem is with the speed,” he said. “It is not happening fast enough.”
“This has been an existential issue for five years now. Over 40% of policy holders who need a liability premium are saying the cost of that premium is a threat to the survival of their organisation.
“So, it needs to happen urgently. That’s the big issue.”
Also on the show, Richie O’Hara owner of Baysports in Athlone said his insurance premium has risen more than 13-fold in the past seven years.
“In 2015, our premium was €7,700,” he said.
“That crept up to the present time … well the noticeable jump which really rocked us was in 2020 when it went to €51,000 – that was just at the beginning of COVID.
“Since last December, we have been paying €10,200 every month. Our premium is now €99,000 and when you factor in the financial consideration, it is €102,000 of a premium we are paying.”
He said the company has dealt with just four claims in the past five - one was settled, two were withdrawn and one is outstanding.
“We are the operators and we have a responsibility to mind and look after people in a high-rick environment, but there are other stakeholders,” he said.
“Like the claimants, like the insurance people, like the legal people, like the medical people and I would say all in all, vested interests were given a free run for far too long and took full advantage of the situation.
“It is now time for government to take control.”
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