Call for soft tissue injury awards to be cut

Bernadette Randles: Current increases are unsustainable

THE spiralling cost of insurance is posing a serious challenge for the hospitality industry in Kerry, local hoteliers have warned.

Bernadette Randles, Chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotels’    Federation, said hotels have experienced enormous increases in premiums and costs are continuing to soar as a result of excessive levels of awards for personal injury claims.

Commenting on the Judicial Council Bill, which is expected to come into law shortly, Ms Randles remarked: “While we welcome this legislation, it is imperative that it results in a meaningful review of levels of damages without delay. The time for inaction is over. Awards for soft tissue injuries must be brought down significantly in line with international norms.”

According to research by the IHF, 62, per cent of hotels have seen hikes in insurance costs over the last 12 months. The average increase in premiums was 28 per cent year on year and that is in addition to substantial increases in recent years.

90 per cent of hotels say they are concerned about the impact of insurance costs on their business.

“Current increases are unsustainable. Exorbitant insurance costs are curtailing the ability of hotels to re-invest in their businesses with knock-on effects for the tourism industry.”

“Decisive action is now required to tackle insurance costs, particularly in relation to the handling of personal injury cases and the excessive levels of awards being made which are four to five times higher than in the UK,” Ms Randles stated.

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