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HOTELIERS CALL FOR MEASURES TO TACKLE RISING INSURANCE COSTS
- 71% say increasing insurance costs having a ‘significant negative impact’
- Insurance costs now at €42 million, equivalent to €730 per bedroom
- Some hoteliers reporting premiums increases of over 50 per cent
Monday, 27th February 2017 Rising insurance premiums and a growing compensation culture are causing serious concerns for hotel businesses according to the President of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) Joe Dolan. Research* carried out by the IHF ahead of its 79th Annual Conference in Kilkenny reveals that increasing insurance costs is one of the biggest issues facing hoteliers and guesthouse owners at the moment with the majority (71%) saying it is having a significant impact on their business. Mr Dolan says that the runaway increases in insurance costs are unsustainable and need to be addressed urgently.
According to Mr Dolan, the combination of excessive compensation awards and increased insurance premiums is having a detrimental impact on cost competitiveness within the hotels sector. Insurance costs for the sector have now reached €42 million this year, equivalent to approximately €730 per bedroom per year. Hoteliers are calling on the Government to introduce immediate and long term measures to address increasing premiums.
The IHF states that Ireland’s scale for compensation awards for minor and moderate injuries has emerged over time in an unstructured and non-scientific way. While a new Book of Quantum was published last October it does not benchmark awards internationally with the result that Irish compensation levels for injuries continue to be out of kilter when compared with other countries. The new guidelines recommend higher awards for 35 categories of injuries with the guideline for a fractured ankle, for example, up from €35,300 to €54,700, an increase of 55 per cent. In the UK, the equivalent award would be in the region of £10,000.
“We have no issue whatsoever with genuine accidents where guests are rightly compensated. However, the vast majority of claims in the hotel sector concern minor injuries and the higher compensation pay-outs recommended by the updated Book of Quantum are putting pressure on insurers to increase the reserves. This in turn is leading to higher premiums for our members. While insurance prices have increased by 47 per cent since January 2011, according to the CSO, we are getting feedback from some members regarding more pronounced increases in excess of 50 per cent. Increases of this level are unjust and unsustainable” said Mr Dolan.
Mr Dolan added that IHF members are also experiencing more exaggerated claims. “Slips and trips account for the vast majority of claims we receive. According to our survey over half (56%) our members say that opportunistic and fake claims are increasing.”
Mr Dolan concludes that some 60% are concerned about the legal costs associated with defending claims while a similar number (57%) says they are concerned about the level of excess required by their insurance provider.
Ger McCarthy/Siobhan Molloy Dublin office: 01 6798600
Weber Shandwick Mobile: 087 233 3590 / 086 817 50 66
NOTES TO EDITOR:
*Survey based on responses owners and general managers of hotel and guesthouse businesses across the country and conducted during February 2017.
Tourism at a Glance
· 8.8 million Overseas visitors, up 769,000 (9.6%)
· Tourism accounts for almost 4% GNP
· Total tourism revenue of €8.25 billion in 2016, up 7.1% compared with 2015
· €6.49 billion foreign exchange earnings in 2016, up 8.6% on 2015
· €1.76 billion in domestic tourism revenue in 2016, up 2% on 2015
· 820 Hotels (807 in 2015) and 57,596 Hotel bedrooms (56,937 in 2015)
· 199 Guesthouses (204 in 2015) and 2,532 Guesthouse bedrooms (2,598 in 2015)
· Total of 60,128 hotel and guesthouse bedrooms in Ireland (59,535 in 2015)
About the IHF
Founded in 1937, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) is the national organisation of the hotel and guesthouse industry in Ireland. It represents just over 1,000 hotels and guesthouses nationwide, employing almost 60,000 people and is a key stakeholder in the Irish tourism sector.