Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I thank the Deputy for those questions. I do not agree with his assessment. We have all been aware for a very long time that there is a general issue regarding the cost of employers' liability and public liability insurance. We set up an interdepartmental working group to deal with those issues a very long time ago and we have been implementing its recommendations as recently as yesterday, with the establishment of the Judicial Council.
In relation to the specific issue of Ironshore pulling out of the market, I only became aware of that in the last couple of weeks and I think it is the same for others. As to where we are now, one insurer, Allianz, is still in the market. It is a good and reliable insurer, which has been there for a very long time. It is willing to offer quotes to those childcare providers which were insured with Ironshore previously at an average rate of roughly €60 per child. Ironshore was offering very low cost insurance. Allianz offers insurance at a premium of about €60 per child per year. Work is ongoing to see if we can get another insurer into the market. As good as Allianz is, it would be better if there were two or three insurers and a degree of competition.
In terms of the general issue of affordability, the Government absolutely acknowledges that the cost of childcare is a huge burden on very many families. More so than any other Government in the history of the State, we have been active in improving that. We brought in two years of guaranteed preschool provision for children.