Businesses may close over high insurance costs

April 15th, 2019 2:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

David Henry of Clonakilty Adventure Centre: insurance policy went from €19k to €32k in three years.

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A number of West Cork tourism businesses are facing closure due to the cost of insurance. 

A number of West Cork tourism businesses are facing closure due to the cost of insurance. 

The Clonakilty Park Hotel’s adventure centre may have to close next month if it can’t get insurance, its manager told The Southern Star this week. 

David Henry said that his insurance broker has told him the chances of getting a quote are low. 

The centre, which employs five, and which features a 100m zip wire and climbing walls, has seen its insurance costs spiral since it opened three years ago. 

‘Our premium has gone from €19,000 in year one, to €27,000 in year two, to €32,000 last year. It’s up for renewal on May 1st but nobody wants to give us a quote, and if I don’t have insurance, it’s against corporate law to open,’ said David.

Meanwhile, another tourism-related business, West Cork Secret, is also under pressure.

Finbarr O’Mahony runs the activity centre in Kilbrittain but says that last year his insurance went from a manageable €7,000, to an astronomical €25,000.

And with the policy due for renewal in May, he’s not hopeful of seeing the cost falling. 

‘If I was back again, there’s no way I’d get into this business, but it’s too late now, as I’ve invested everything I have in it,’ he said.

Skibbereen-based Curley O’Driscoll of Skibereen’s Tanyard Bar and Chasers Nightclub was paying €12,000 for insurance three years ago. 

But for the past year, it’s almost doubled – to €23,000. He’s been in the business for 20 years, while Finbarr opened West Cork Secret in 2009. Both men are now very pessimistic about their futures in the business.

Meanwhile, some companies are looking at alternative options to try and keep afloat, including ‘self-insuring’ and group schemes. 

Finbarr O’Mahony was among a delegation which met Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Michael D’Arcy, in recent weeks, to highlight their concerns. ‘But I didn’t get any satisfaction, and wouldn’t be holding out with much hope,’ said Finbarr. 

‘None of it makes sense. The government says we must have insurance, but then the entire insurance industry remains unregulated. We’re basket cases in this country when it comes to insurance,’ he added.

Independent TD Michael Collins has, on several occasions, highlighted the issue in the Dáil. ‘The government needs to act now and resolve the insurance crisis once and for all,’ he said.

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