Excessive insurance premiums crippling leisure industry – O’Loughlin

The Governments lack of action on tackling the rising costs of insurance is completely unacceptable. Deputy O’Loughlin was commenting as Spin activity centre in Newbridge has been forced to close up while they try to source alternative insurance cover.

Small businesses up and down the country have been crippled by massive increases in insurance costs. Pubs, bars and restaurants have all seen their insurance premiums rise by thousands over the past number of years. Sadly, many of these have gone out of business – for others the future is uncertain.

At the rate this issue is going there isn’t going to be a leisure centre left in the country where children can play indoors. Businesses are having to look to the UK to even get insurance and when they do the premiums are unsustainable.

When it became known that UK-based insurance company Leisure Insure were to withdraw from the Irish market, Fianna Fáil called on the Government to hold an emergency meeting with the insurance industry. UK-based Leisure Insure are specialists in providing insurance for sport, leisure and entertainment. They are in effect the only provider of insurance in Ireland for some parts of the leisure industry. Their departure from the market will leave vast swathes of the leisure industry in Ireland unable to secure insurance cover.

The simple fact is that public liability insurance for the leisure industry is not an attractive business. There has to be deterrents for insurance fraud. A couple of months ago we saw a shocking video clip released by the Alliance for Insurance Reform, of a woman placing a piece of glass in her mouth before pretending to choke in a pub in Kildare. It was a brazen and blatant attempt to defraud a business in Kildare and is a clear illustration of what small businesses up and down the country are up against.

Fianna Fáil is the only party which is pushing the insurance reform agenda and has brought forward the majority of legislation relating to insurance during this Dáil term. Our Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill 2019 will ensure that those who bring fraudulent claims will have to pay the legal expenses for the defendant – this would at least ensure that they will not walk away scot-free when they are convicted.

If the Government were determined to tackle this problem they would implement plans for a personal injury claims database which would go some way to curtail fraudulent insurance claims and they would adapt the Fianna Fáil Bill to deter fraudsters in the first place. This would go some way to bringing down insurance claims.