Creches hit by 200pc jump in insurance premiums for 2020
Small and medium-sized creches and community childcare operations face a whopping 200pc insurance hike in 2020 after a major UK underwriter quit the Irish market in the wake of the Hyde & Seek controversy.
A number of operators warned the Herald that creche owners now face a stark choice - either pass the cost of massive insurance premium hikes on to parents or face the threat of closure.
There is now just a single major insurance underwriter covering the Irish childcare sector. A rival, which had helped drive down premium costs over recent years, opted to quit the Irish market in the wake of the Hyde & Seek creche chain controversy.
The large Dublin-based creche chain now faces a number of Dublin District Court charges over alleged breaches of childcare regulations following an undercover operation by RTE Investigates.
Now, creches totally unconnected to Hyde & Seek and which have maintained the highest childcare standards face suffering the fall-out from the controversy.
Paula Donohoe, who operates the Clever Clogs creche in Co Cavan, said she was appalled when she received a quote for insurance cover for 2020.
"My insurance premium for 2019 was €3,400, but my insurance quote for 2020 was €9,557," she said.
"I have never had a claim and my facility operates to the very highest standards. So where on Earth are they getting an increase of €6,157 from?"
Ms Donohoe also queried the fairness of the insurance provider offering her a near 30pc discount if she was a member of Early Childhood Ireland (ECI).
She said she was told that, if she was an ECI member, her premium would be reduced to €6,692.
Ann Clarke operates another childcare facility in Co Cavan and while she hasn't yet received her formal quote for 2020 cover she has been warned to expect a 200pc-plus hike.
"I will be amazed if it is not doubled or even trebled given everything that I have heard from what other childcare professionals are enduring," she said.
Even community childcare groups are being hit. Mick Kenny helps run a non-profit childcare facility in Johnstown, Co Kilkenny, and its quote soared from €1,400 in 2019 to a whopping €4,410 for 2020.