Business alliance forms against ‘crippling’ insurance costs

A new organisation which includes the Irish Hotels Federation and the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has demanded an end to what it calls “crippling insurance premiums”.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform comprises 18 civic and business organisations, representing 35,000 members and more than 620,000 employees and 41,300 volunteers.

It claimed it had formed to address the issue of services and jobs being hit by excessive insurance costs.

A springboard for the new alliance was a survey of 950 members of its organisations, carried out by Amárach Research, which found, that since 2013, 47% of respondents saw their premiums rise by over 30% while over one fifth experienced rises of over 70%.

Two-thirds of respondents also reported having increased excesses or new exclusions added to their policies which they claimed created more risk and exposure to cost.

Almost half of those questioned said rising insurance premiums were affecting their ability to grow, with 45% claiming it threatened the future of their organisation. A quarter of respondents warned it made jobs less secure.

Ivan Cooper, director of public policy at The Wheel, the country’s national association for community, voluntary, and charitable organisations, said the cost of insurance is a huge issue for many charities.

“Fifty of The Wheel’s members have already informed the organisation that their insurance premiums have increased in the past three years, in some cases by as much as 500%,” he said. “Bringing the cost of insurance down and, indeed, ensuring a continued availability of cover is now an urgent matter for many charities.”

Other examples of soaring insurance costs included a play centre in Galway which saw its premium almost double from 2016 to 2017, and McCambridges food hall and restaurant in Galway where the insurance premium rose from €17,000 in 2014 to €102,000 last year.

The executive director of the Association of Irish Festival Events, Colm Croffy, warned that if the trend in insurance hikes over recent years continues, “a large number of festivals and outdoor events will be forced to cease operations with a massive knock-on impact for local economies”.

The Alliance’s spokesman, Peter Boland, said: “Persistently high, unsustainable insurance premiums are pushing everyday organisations to the brink.

“What is at stake is the survival of charities and voluntary bodies serving our country and the livelihood of Irish business owners and their staff.”


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