Creches facing new year without insurance offered lifeline

Allianz offers quotes to 1,382 childcare providers as Government gives one-off payment

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone on Wednesday announced a one-off payment to registered childcare providers of €1,500 to deal with rising insurance costs. Photograph: iStock

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone on Wednesday announced a one-off payment to registered childcare providers of €1,500 to deal with rising insurance costs. Photograph: iStock

 

Hundreds of creches potentially facing an absence of insurance cover in the new year have been offered quotes by the remaining underwriter in the market, according to the Department of Children.

More than 1,300 childcare facilities were told by broker Padraic Smith & Co last week that it was no longer able to secure cover due to the departure of Ironshore Europe from the market.

In an update statement on the situation on Thursday evening, the department said Allianz, the remaining underwriter for the sector, had now issued quotes for 1,382 new customers. This was an increase of 282 on the 1,100 providers who had been issued quotes on Wednesday.

The department said it understood a small number of applications had yet to be finalised. “The department urges providers to inform the parents using their services of their insurance cover for 2020.”

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone on Wednesday announced a one-off payment to registered childcare providers of €1,500 to deal with rising insurance costs. Some creche providers have reported a doubling or trebling of premiums being quoted following Ironshore’s withdrawal.

The increased support to childcare providers was made through the Department’s Payment Support Programme (PSP), which allows for once-off payments, nominally to support providers during the time needed to complete administrative work associated with applying for financial programmes run by the Government.

However, Wednesday’s move was widely seen as an emergency measure to head off the risk of many providers not being able to open their doors in the new year due to a lack of cover.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, said it was welcome that childcare providers who lost their Smyth Brokers cover have received quotes from Allianz.

However, he added: “We want to know what level those quotes are at compared to the 2019 premiums; and whether the additional PSP being paid by the Department will make up the difference. Our understanding is that in many cases, the 2020 quotes are considerably higher.”