Ireland’s hoteliers are calling for action on rising insurance costs, which are set to reach €60 million this year. According to an industry survey published by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) in advance of its 80th annual conference, more than 80 per cent of hoteliers believe this increase will have a ‘significant negative impact’ on their business. Joe Dolan, outgoing President of the IHF, describes the issue as one of the greatest challenges the sector is facing, after Brexit.

“We welcome the Government’s recognition of the impact of insurance costs on hotel and guesthouses and the wider business sector,” he said. “The priority now is the swift implementation of the recommendations and conclusions of the Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) on employer and public liability insurance costs.  It is costing the equivalent of €1,000 per room annually. This is unsustainable, especially for the tourism and hospitality sector, which is so price-sensitive.”

Alongside rising premiums, hoteliers have also noted their concern with a rising number of exaggerated or fraudulent claims. Dolan welcomed the CIWG’s recommendations concerning the reporting of suspected fraudulent claims to gardaí, noting that strong deterrents will be required. Other recommendations include an examination of potential legislation that would impose a cap on damages awarded in personal injury cases – this could result in greater consistency and provide more certainty regarding the potential cost of contesting a claim in court.

“We have no issue whatsoever with genuine accidents where guests are rightly and properly compensated. However, we are concerned at the increasing number of opportunistic and fake claims,” said Dolan. “According to our research over half of our members (57 per cent) believe that a fraudulent claim has been made against their property in the past 36 months. All too often such claims are viewed as a victimless crime when the reality is that every single guest pays the price.”