The owner of an events company who’s had to put half his business on hold has called on judges to reduce compensation awards before “all leisure activities in Ireland are gone”.
Glenn Tector, managing director of Sonix Entertainment, a company which employs more than 100 people, says he is no longer able to supply bouncy castles, rodeo bulls or trampolines for family and corporate events as he can’t get insurance.
Mr Tector says he is “really pissed off” with the situation and slammed “Santa Claus judges giving out big payments for minor injuries”.
As a board member in Kilkenny College, he has also seen first hand how the insurance crisis is affecting schools.
“The personal injury system is a money making operation for insurers and solicitors,” he said.
“It’s affecting education and it’s affecting kids, if this rate of closure continues there will be no activities for kids.
“There are activity centres that schools would have brought their kids to before which are now shut down.”
Mr Tector has 18 years’ experience in running events and says since August 14, his company hasn’t been able to supply inflatables as no company will provide insurance cover.
He believes high awards in the courts are incentivising people to sue and there is now a fear factor prevalent among business owners across the country.
“People [in the Alliance for Insurance Reform] are annoyed with the judiciary for not taking action.
“All event companies and inflatable companies now have no insurance company to renew with since August 2019. All ice rinks in Ireland have no insurance cover for 2019 – 575,000 people passed through the 23 seasonal ice rinks in 2018 with 874 direct jobs provided.
“The average insurance cost for a six-week run for an ice rink has gone from €5,000 to €35,000.
“If the Book of Quantum doesn’t lower awards, all leisure activities will be cancelled.”
A number of activity centres have been forced to close in Ireland in recent weeks.
Rathbeggan Lakes in Co Meath, a popular family-run adventure park, opened its gates for the last time after owner Dave Robinson shut up shop due to excessive insurance premiums.
Mr Robinson posted a video slamming how “nothing is being done” to help small leisure and activity-centred businesses.
“People have asked me am I my emotional, I am yes, I’m going to miss the customers. I’m going to miss the fun we’ve had, I’m going to miss the youngsters that we’ve trained and all the work we’ve done. But my main emotion is, I’m cross, I’m angry.
“The government has done nothing about the insurance crisis. And you and your kids are going to have very few places like this left next year, unless something happens this winter. We’ve got to fix the national insurance crisis. Anyway, we’ve had fun. I hope you continue to do so.”