Categories: Press Releases

by Brian Hanley

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

27/04/2023

 Policyholders in Republic paying many multiples what NI counterparts pay

Alliance calls on Government to get serious with insurers

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has today published a set of case studies of liability insurance premiums in the Republic and comparable operations in Northern Ireland and Germany which show the extent to which liability policyholders in the Republic of Ireland are being taken for a ride by incumbent insurers. The Alliance has called on the Government to get serious with insurers about the urgent delivery of the benefits of insurance reforms.

Examples of premiums paid for similar operations south and north of the border include:

PUB:

Northern Ireland €2,679

Republic of Ireland €17,500

Multiple 6.5 times higher in the Republic

CARAVAN PARK:

Northern Ireland €1,089

Republic of Ireland €5,245

Multiple 4.8

COMMUNITY CIRCUS CASE 1:

Northern Ireland €6,079

Republic of Ireland €39,100

Multiple 6.4

COMMUNITY CIRCUS CASE 2:

Northern Ireland €4,104

Republic of Ireland €11,995

Multiple 2.9

THATCHED COTTAGES:

Northern Ireland €749 for a new thatch building

Republic of Ireland: 1% of the value of the building, so from approximately €3,000 upwards, where insurers are willing to offer cover.

Multiple 4.0 upwards

TREE ADVENTURE PARKS – COMPARISONS WITH GERMANY

The three Zipit tree adventure parks in Farran in Cork, Tibradden in Dublin and Lough Key in Roscommon, currently pay a combined annual premium of €250,000.

Squirrels’ Scramble tree adventure park in Kilruddery, Bray currently pays €60,000 per annum in insurance.

The six Natur Bewegt tree adventure parks in Germany pay €3,000 between them.

Multiple: 20.0 to 27.7

According to Bill Cremin, Managing Director of Zipit, “One of our German colleagues said recently that what we pay for insurance would cover the insurance costs of the entire sector (high ropes specifically) in Germany”.

(RefRTE Adventure tourism firms face closure due to high insurance costs).There are approximately 140 such businesses in Germany.

In the same RTE article, President of the European Confederation of Outdoor Employers Jean Yves Lapeyère is quoted as saying that “The issue of having to stop trading, because the insurance is too expensive is exclusive to Ireland.” He said that “In no country do we hear of outdoor companies having to stop trading because their premium is too high.” “The problem at this level is Irish, 100% Irish,” he added.

(RefRTE Adventure tourism firms face closure due to high insurance costs).

NOTE: All policy premiums are for combined public liability, employer liability and property insurance. All figures in Euros. Sterling converted at €1.13. Case studies are for similar sized and structured businesses in similar locations. Most organisations that participated in the case studies were not willing to reveal their identity. In the Republic, this was because they are down to one underwriter and are afraid of repercussions if they reveal their identity. In the North, it was down to a reluctance to publicly engage in “the Republic’s problem”.

In general, Irish organisations are recognised by their European counterparts to have top-class risk management and health and safety systems in place.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “Huge effort has gone into insurance reform by Government, the Opposition, the Judiciary, An Garda Síochána and policyholders. But insurers, both underwriters and brokers, are pocketing the benefits. Indeed, liability insurance premiums are actually continuing to increase despite the reforms being delivered, with an average premium increase of 14% recorded in our ongoing members’ survey in 2022.

“Government is tiptoeing around insurers, afraid of upsetting them in case they leave the market. In reality, the high-profile insurer casualties of recent years have been down to issues such as mismanagement, incompetence, Brexit and corporate priorities, not market conditions. It is time for Government to get the gloves off with the incumbent insurers, get more competition into the market and put measures in place to cover sectors that insurers are simply not interested in covering. This limbo policyholders are in right now, as we wait interminably for reforms to kick in, must come to an end. Otherwise, Government will have dropped the low-hanging fruit, the one crisis that is close to being resolved. One that they have worked hard on but failed to deliver. The Alliance shares the view of the Taoiseach that ‘The success of the (Government Action) plan will be measured by the reduction in premiums and improved competition’, and insurers must play their part in delivering to that commitment.”

ENDS