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Ireland’s sports organisations call for urgent reform of the insurance sector

10th July 2019

Sport Ireland and The Federation of Irish Sport are latest members to join the Alliance for Insurance Reform in fight against crippling insurance costs

The Alliance for Insurance Reform, the group which brings together representative bodies from the not-for-profit, charity, sports and small and medium-sized business sectors across Ireland, has today been joined by two major new member organisations – Sport Ireland and the Federation of Irish Sport. Both organisations are calling for an end to crippling insurance costs which have become a significant issue for sporting bodies and sports activity throughout Ireland.

Director of Participation and Ethics at Sport Ireland Una May said: “On a daily basis we are hearing how risk aversion due to the fear of claims is having a prohibitive effect on the work of our National Governing Bodies for Sport and Local Sports Partnerships. Their ability to develop new and innovative programmes to engage people in sport and increase participation in physical activity is being curtailed significantly. We are also seeing situations where organisations and groups are having difficulty in securing insurance in the first instance."

Dr May continued: “Sport Ireland has joined the Alliance for Insurance Reform as we feel that if the current trend continues, it will have a damaging effect on the sporting landscape at all levels, from major national and international events to everyday club activities. Our sporting organisations, clubs, athletes and volunteers need to be protected from the devastating impact of rising insurance costs and the fear of claims. Real and substantive change is required now.”

Federation of Irish Sport CEO Mary O’Connor said: “The Federation of Irish Sport has joined together with the Alliance for Insurance Reform in response to our members’ concerns about rising insurance premiums.

In a recent survey conducted by the Federation, 97% of our members revealed that their insurance premiums have gone up in the last 5 years on average by 45%.  In one instance a member’s insurance has gone up by 108% in that time frame. Insurance is becoming an increasing burden for all our sporting bodies and will continue to have a negative impact on the delivery of sport and physical activity opportunities in Ireland and the situation urgently needs to be addressed.

Based on these concerns we have acted to represent our sporting bodies at the table of the Alliance for Insurance Reform in the hope of seeing meaningful and lasting change made to address these ever-increasing costs. We are committed to working with our members and those involved in the insurance industry to make the necessary changes so that sport can continue to function at its best in Ireland”.

Peter Boland, spokesperson for the Alliance for Insurance Reform, said: “It is a damning indictment of Ireland’s insurance crisis that two significant national sporting bodies feel obliged to join our Alliance.

Crippling insurance costs are pervasive across all areas of Irish society and despite the varied make-up of our Alliance members, one common thing is threatening their ability to function day to day - rising insurance premiums.

The slow pace of reform to address the insurance crisis is seriously threatening the survival of these bodies’ members and countless other civic, voluntary and business groups yet we still haven’t seen any real changes that will reduce premiums for policy holders.”

Boland added: “Despite all the promises we have heard, we have yet to see tangible evidence of reforms that will make a real difference.  Reforms like the establishment of a fully-funded and resourced Garda response to fraudulent claims, a meaningful reduction in the level of general damages being awarded for minor, fully-recovered injuries or a commitment from the insurance industry to quantify the scale of promised premium reductions.”

With the arrival of the Federation of Irish Sport and Sport Ireland, the Alliance for Insurance Reform now brings together 28 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 36,000 members, 640,000 employees and 493,000 volunteers in demanding rapid action to end crippling insurance costs

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