The financial measures implemented so far by the government may not be enough, but they’re a start. Across the industry, there seems to be a general agreement that the government has acknowledged how essential the tourism industry is to the Irish economy. So while there’s more to be done, the new Covid-19 financial schemes for businesses are on the right track. Banks have also stepped up and offered their support to the industry, as have several other private businesses like Sky.

But the insurance industry? Not so much. Insurers are rejecting claims for business interruption caused by coronavirus from hospitality businesses, claiming that the disease is not one of those listed in the small print of policies. The other excuse being used is the Government did not order the closure of thousands of businesses, it simply advised.

The insurance industry has been slammed by various industry organisations for the stance it’s taking at a time of national crisis, while politicians including Independent TD Mattie McGrath describing it as “deeply cynical.” The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the RAI have slammed insurers who are refusing to honour the ‘Business Interruption’ cover for businesses forced to close due to Covid-19. According to the LVA and VFI, many publicans had indicated they would have payments to provide payment to their staff during the closure period, thereby reducing the burden on the social welfare system and the Exchequer. All three organisations have called on the government to engage with the Irish insurance industry on the matter.


“This is a disgraceful decision by the two insurance providers,” said Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA. “At a time of national crisis, with the pub sector on its knees, these insurers have spurned us in our time of need and are refusing to play their part in this emergency situation.”

According to industry experts, most insurance companies in Ireland are reluctant to set a precedent that could have repercussions in their larger markets. This is an issue that could run and run and one that certainly doesn’t paint Ireland’s insurance industry in a very positive light.