Alliance welcomes its latest member – Volunteer Ireland says insurance creating huge barrier to volunteering in Ireland

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The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed its latest member, Volunteer Ireland.

Volunteer Ireland is the national volunteer development organisation and a support body for all local Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services in Ireland.

Nina Arwitz, CEO of Volunteer Ireland said “Insurance is creating a huge barrier to volunteering in Ireland. Many organisations that involve volunteers are struggling to secure insurance for their volunteer programmes or face prohibitive insurance costs. Over 1 million people in Ireland volunteer each year, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Ireland relies on volunteers to deliver vital services in areas such as homelessness, youth work, animal welfare, environmental protection, social equality, care for elderly and health. The challenges around insurance present a real threat that many organisations working in these areas will not be able to survive, which would have huge negative consequences for our society.” 

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “While we warmly welcome Volunteer Ireland to our Alliance, it is frustrating that an organisation so important for the fabric of our society feels obliged to join us. Insurance should not be on their agenda, particularly at the moment. We call on the Government to urgently accelerate the pace of insurance reform so that Volunteer Ireland can focus on driving the recovery of Ireland’s volunteering infrastructure from COVID19.

In particular, we ask that they prioritise the following real reforms:

1.      Reduce unfair general damages to reflect international norms and the principles already established by the higher courts – including that ‘minor injuries attract modest damages’

2.      Review and re-balance the “common duty of care” to require occupiers to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate

3.      Support a fully-resourced Garda Insurance Fraud Unit

4.      Insist on insurers committing to a schedule of forecast reductions for planned reforms

The Alliance now brings together 39 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 670,000 employees, 599,000 volunteers and 374,000 students in highlighting the negative impact of persistently high premiums and calling for real reforms that will quickly reduce liability and motor insurance premiums to affordable levels and keep them that way.

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