Publicans operating late night bars have experienced even higher increases with one member reporting that his insurance premium jumped from €80,000 to €145,000 over the same two-year period, an increase of 81%.
The figures were presented to the Oireachtas Finance Committee today by the LVA who told it that exorbitant insurance hikes are threatening the viability of some pubs in the capital.
In the absence of objective information on the majority of Public Liability settlements, the LVA says the Government must commission an independent report as soon as possible into what is driving these unsustainable premium increases.
LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe described the lack of industry information and transparency on how claims are settled as “outrageous”. He said the main reason this information wasn’t available was because 70% to 75% of claims are settled directly between insurers and claimants.
“There is absolutely no information available about the majority of Public Liability settlements,” he told the Oireachtas Finance Committee, “This is simply unacceptable in a modern economy and is a real deterrent for new entrants to the Irish insurance market. This issue is putting the livelihood of some of our members and the jobs of their employees at risk. It cannot be allowed to continue.
Figures from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board – which deals with 20% of Public Liability claims – show that there was a relatively modest 6% increase in such claims from 2013 to 2015, he said, with the average award remaining relatively stable at €25,000.
“These figures do not support the view that higher claims costs are causing the premium hikes. So what is?” he asked, “That’s why we need an objective report to provide absolute clarity on what is driving these costs.”
At present claimants can lodge a claim up to two years after an incident has occurred.
“This is completely excessive as it makes it difficult for the business to prepare a defence as staff and or customers witness statements cannot be obtained and CCTV footage will no longer be available,” he concluded.
The LVA would like to see a National Claims Register created to capture all relevant information about public liability claims and for all claimants to be obliged to notify the business concerned with full details of their claim within 30 days of the incident occurring.