This states that, “In relation to Business Interruption cover, standard business insurance policies are designed and priced to cover standard risks. Standard policies typically refer to risks which are physically present on the business premises. They are therefore unlikely to provide cover for the extraordinary preventative measures (up to and including decisions to close) that have been taken by many businesses to implement social distancing guidelines. Businesses should check the scope of their particular cover and speak to their insurance company or broker.”
In response to the statement, Alliance Director Peter Boland said, “We’ve been inundated with calls from small businesses that have had to close, thought they were covered by their business interruption insurance and are now being told by their insurer that they are not.
“We’re calling on Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to intervene in this situation. Government has already engaged in multiple aspects of commercial relationships and given clarity as to what needs to be done. The Government’s National Action Plan in response to Covid-19 states that it will ‘Work closely with affected business sectors and stakeholders to identify any other appropriate liquidity or other responses required to assist affected businesses’.
“This is just such a situation and we expect that it will be dealt with quickly and fairly.
“Separately” he continued, “we acknowledge the work of insurers in keeping their doors open and we urge them to move swiftly now to confirm measures to ‘to allow businesses impacted by closure suspend or reduce cover and/or receive flexibility in payments’ as their press release commits to.”
Hotels Federation calls deferment of rates due “wholly inadequate”
Meanwhile, the hotel industry has been deeply alarmed by what the Irish Hotels Federation describes as the “Government’s meaningless intervention” in relation to local authority rates.
Proposals to defer rates payments were described as “wholly inadequate and a futile exercise that will do little to get the 260,000 people in Irish Tourism back to work as part of rebuilding Ireland” by IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane whose message to Government is that local authority rates must be waived to avoid job losses.
“Securing jobs is our priority now and it’s disappointing that the Government does not realise the reality of what is needed,” she said.
The IHF believes that decisive, meaningful action is required that recognises and properly addresses the enormous financial challenges facing the tourism and hospitality sector.
“Deferring payment fails to tackle the underlying problem,” she stated, “It needs to be waived. Let’s be very clear – our quest is to get 260,000 people back to work and if this meaningless intervention is to be the only initiative brought to the table, businesses throughout Ireland will suffer. Every day without a waiver leads to further job losses,” she warned.
“Hundreds of tourism and hospitality businesses across the country have closed their doors in recent days due to this crisis, with no idea as to when they will be able to reopen. Accruing their liabilities makes no sense. Their financial difficulties are not going to simply evaporate at the end of May. We want to get people back working and play our part in rebuilding Ireland. These businesses are facing weeks if not months of lost income, during which time their liability for Local Authority Rates will accumulate.
“One of the lessons learnt from the financial crisis was the requirement to act fast so that large parts of the economy are not obliterated, with long-term consequences which will directly impact the local authorities. It is in everyone’s interests to start preparing to put our economy back on a firm footing as quickly as possible,” she concluded.