Monday 17 June 2019

'I had a bit of a heart attack at the cost' - premiums soar for aerial acrobatics classes

Sky high insurance: Teacher Shane Holohan and students Sean Daly and Shantona Bag, at Taking Flight. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Sky high insurance: Teacher Shane Holohan and students Sean Daly and Shantona Bag, at Taking Flight. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

When Shane Holohan set up Taking Flight - which offers aerial and acrobatics classes - he was able to get sports insurance cover for €350.

That was in 2015. Fast-forward four years and the business has expanded, and Mr Holohan has invested thousands equipping a studio in Phibsboro.

While he and his fellow teachers are still covered to give classes in circus arts such as trapeze, he has been given a quote for public liability insurance for the premises of up to €20,000.

That's up from the €1,300 he paid last year to a UK-based insurer after he got quotes from Irish underwriters of as much as €10,000.

As Mr Holohan put it: "I had a bit of a heart attack."

He said despite the efforts of his brokers, the UK option was not open to him this year, amid concerns about Brexit.

He says one Irish underwriter has been willing to offer cover with a premium of between €16,000 and €20,000. "It makes no difference who you are or any qualifications and experience you have. It's just a blanket thing," Mr Holohan said.

He said the business can't afford the massive hike in public liability costs and while he and the other teachers still have insurance cover to teach classes, he faces the prospect of having to introduce new rules relating to the premises.

He may have to bring in a policy of only allowing students in the door once the class starts. "If you're a parent, I'm sorry, you can stay outside."

Taking Flight has students aged from four years up to people in their 60s, and Mr Holohan says it "gives people an alternative way to get involved in the arts or to get fit and healthy".

It is a member of the Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network (ISACS) which has lobbied ministers on the topic of insurance reform.

Mr Holohan says change in the industry is "needed urgently".

Irish Independent

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