The LVA, which represents Dublin publicans, wants the Government to carry out an independent review of the business insurance market in Ireland as a matter of urgency.
“Insurance costs for Dublin publicans are a very serious expense, typically ranging from €15,000 to €25,000 per annum,” said LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, “However many larger LVA members, especially in the late bar scene, are facing premiums of €50,000 to €100,000 per annum. Such increases are simply not sustainable.”
Recent insurance increases have averaged 20% annually over the last two years and the situation is now reaching breaking point, he said.
“The Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform recently announced it would be investigating the motor insurance industry. We’re calling on the Government to expand the work of that Committee to include business insurance. Action must be taken immediately before these outrageous increases force businesses to the brink, putting jobs at risk in the process,” he said.
In addition to the cost of insurance, the LVA says that there is widespread concern about how the claims system is functioning. It believes the two-year period in which it is possible to lodge a claim is completely excessive while the majority of claims are by-passing the Personal Injuries Assessment Board process.
The Association says that as a result many members face an expensive and time-consuming process and in many cases claims are being settled directly by the insurance company.
He also described as “shocking” the lack of industry information and transparency on how claims are settled. The role of insurers and the legal profession as well as the level of compensation awards and false/exaggerated claims were all factors in driving up the cost of renewal, he pointed out.
“If this is not addressed by Government quickly, we’ll find more and more pubs, which are at the heart of the Irish hospitality and tourism sector, under pressure. The Government cannot allow business insurance costs to threaten the viability of this sector and now need to identify and remedy the causes of high insurance costs,” he concluded.