JUST weeks since The Southern Star highlighted the rising cost of insurance facing West Cork hotels, local hoteliers held a meeting with junior minister Sean Fleming.
The online meeting, organised by Cork South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan, discussed the need for reform of the sector.
‘Hoteliers have pointed out their frustration with insurance premiums and the fact they feel like they’re seen as an easy target for claims and payouts,’ said Deputy O’Sullivan.
‘Minister Fleming is moving forward with the government’s plans to bring some common sense back to the insurance market, and take the target off the back of hoteliers. For too long they’ve been paying out on minor claims that defy common sense.’
Minister of State Sean Fleming has said reforms to the insurance sector, including the new guidelines for awards, should be fully implemented within the next year.
New compensation guidelines were adopted by the Judicial Council in April which set out the level of damages that may be awarded or assessed in respect of personal injuries.
These guidelines have reduced the amount of damages which can be awarded, particularly for minor injuries.
Judges departing from the guidelines must give written reasons for doing so.
But insurance clients fear a drop in the cost of premiums won’t be passed onto the consumer.
‘Even at a 50% drop it is way above the European average and there’s no guarantee the insurance providers will even pass that on,’ added Deputy O’Sullivan.
‘We need assurances, because our hoteliers are facing huge challenges and reduced incomes, they shouldn’t have to suffer big premiums.’
David Henry, general manager of the Clonakilty Park Hotel, recently told The Southern Star that insurance companies are ‘almost operating a cartel’ when it comes to insurance in the leisure industry.
Mr Henry said that he can only renew his insurance with his existing insurer and that there is no competition in the market. Despite being closed for most of last year, he was unable to get a rebate on his policy.