Water and land based activity centres in Cork are losing their insurance due to the uncertainty of Brexit.
One of the companies affected is Atlantic Offshore Adventures (AOA), a water-based activity centre that operates across West Cork and Cork city.
Founded in 2014, the company offers a range of water sports including Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), surfing, kayaking and coasteering, but unfortunately is now stuck in limbo as their underwriter in the UK is not allowing them to renew their policy due to the uncertainty over Brexit.
Owner and founder of the business Aileen Mann said it is a very stressful time.
“Our insurance company is in the UK because there are no insurance companies in Ireland that will cover all the activities that we do, such as coasteering.”
Ms Mann explained that some Irish companies have offered to cover all activities, but they are too expensive to be a viable option.
For Aileen, her insurance is up on June 13 and from then on she is unsure if she will be able to offer coasteering with her business beyond that date.
“I currently have six bookings beyond June 13 and I don’t know if I will be able to honour them. I don’t know what to tell people and I don’t know if those people will be happy with an alternative activity or will walk away.” Aileen said coasteering accounts for about 20% of her business.
“It is very popular among adults. We don’t really take children at all, it is all corporates, hens and stags, but people really enjoy it.”
Ms Mann said that her company and about nine other companies across the Munster and Galway region are looking at pooling their insurance needs in the hope of finding a better deal in the Irish market.
“There are about ten of us who have worked together previously, or who have done courses together, who are looking at getting one single insurance policy to cover us all.”
She said the pressure is on as the renewal date of her own insurance creeps closer.
“I am one of the first companies to renew, a few of the others are in July and some in August. It is a big worry and it has thrown a bit of a wobbler in the works.”
The AOA founder said that the insurance issue has the potential to prevent her company from expanding.
Ms Mann said she knew of companies who had to curtail their offerings in order to comply with stricter or more expensive insurance policies in Ireland.
“I know people removing parts of obstacle courses as they are just too expensive to cover.
“It is not going to let us develop as a company if we can’t add extra activities. We are stuck in limbo for the foreseeable future.”