A Tipperary water park fears it will be unable to reopen due to difficulty in renewing public liability insurance amid escalating premiums.
Aqua Splash water park in Lough Derg has had to close as its UK-based insurer will not renew its coverage. The water park has faced a number of issues regarding securing insurance since its opening in 2016. Its original insurer stopped insuring the water park a number of years ago after a claim arose.
“We were insured with them for four or five years. Once we got the claim in, they wouldn’t insure us. They stopped insuring this whole sector anyway after that,” said Aqua Splash owner Stephen Fitzgerald.
The water park then had to switch to a UK-based insurer which led to the insurance premium “going up probably five times the price, six times the price” that it had been previously. “After that year it just shot up through the roof,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
This UK-based insurer has since pulled out of Ireland and will not renew Aqua Splash's coverage, which was due for renewal on July 12th. "They [the insurance company] said it's too high risk for the water parks. Being honest I don't think it really is. Some parks in Ireland do get a lot of claims but it's the same as everything really. Anything that's got to do with activities, there's always going to be claims," said Mr Fitzgerald.
“If someone else is having claims, that’s the way they’re running it. We shouldn’t be painted with the same brush.”
Brexit has also been a matter of concern for insurers. “A lot of the insurance companies that were in the UK, they’re after pulling out as well due to Brexit. They won’t even look at the company,” he said.
Mr Fitzgerald is now finding it almost impossible to find insurance for the water park. Its continued closure is causing him a “massive financial impact”.
“We’re at peak season now. This is when we should be busiest, we should be booked out,” he said. However, he hopes to find a solution soon. “We have been on to an insurance crowd this morning. They’re doing an insurance scheme with multiple businesses so they told us we would be a priority because we had to shut down. So I suppose there is a light at the end of the tunnel now.”