The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) believes that exorbitant insurance hikes are threatening the viability of a number of pubs in Dublin, stating that there needs to be a review of the insurance sector.
The LVA claims that insurance premiums for pubs have increased by 47% over last two years, with one publican seeing their insurance premium rise by 81%.
A recent survey by the LVA - which represents Dublin publicans – found that average premiums have increased from €17,000 in 2014 to €25,000 this year (+47%).
Publicans operating late night bars have experienced even higher increases with one member reporting that his insurance premium jumped from €80,000 to €145,000 over the same two year period.
The LVA believes the Government must commission an independent report as soon as possible into what is driving these unsustainable premium increases.
The CEO of the LVA, Donall O’Keeffe described the lack of industry information and transparency on how claims are settled as 'outrageous'. He said the main reason this information wasn’t available was because 70 to 75% of claims are settled directly between insurers and claimants.
"There is absolutely no information available about the majority of public liability settlements. This is simply unacceptable in a modern economy and is a real deterrent for new entrants to the Irish insurance market. This issue is putting the livelihood of some of our members and the jobs of their employees at risk. It cannot be allowed to continue," said O'Keeffe.
"Figures from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board – which deals with 20% of public liability claims - show that there was a relatively modest 6% increase in such claims from 2013 to 2015 with the average award remaining relatively stable at €25K. So these figures do not support the view that higher claims costs are causing the premium hikes. So what is? That is why we need an objective report to provide absolute clarity on what is driving these costs," he added.
The LVA would like to see a National Claims Register created to capture all the relevant information about public liability claims and for all claimants to be obliged to notify the business concerned with full details of their claim within 30 days of the incident occurring. At present claimants can lodge a claim up to two years after an incident has occurred.
"This is completely excessive as it makes it difficult for the business to prepare a defence as staff and or customers witness statements cannot be obtained and CCTV footage will no longer be available," O’Keefe concluded.