In recognition of a difficult year for childcare providers Minister Zappone has informed me that she has now approved a once off Programme Support payment which will be made available in the coming days averaging €1,500 per provider.
This funding is in response to the sharp rise in insurance costs.
I’ve recently received a number of representations regarding insurance costs for the childcare sector and I have taken the matter up directly with Minister Zappone at a recent meeting.
The difficulty arises as only one underwriter, Allianz, is currently providing insurance to childcare services, following the exit of Ironshore from this market. Up to 1,300 childcare providers were affected by Ironshore’s exit, with their policies to expire in 31 December 2019.
Allianz (through the broker Aracas) has said it is willing to consider quotes for all affected services.
While quotes are being processed within 24 hours in the vast majority of cases, the cost is significantly higher than was the case in the previous year. 869 of the 1300 providers impacted by Ironshore have been given quotes by 18 December. The balance can be processed within a short time frame.
Many of the providers that I have been in contact with are facing a trebling in the cost of insurance. This is causing a lot of stress and anxiety for childcare providers and as a result parents as well.
This is on top of the stress involved in submitting re-registration applications.
This movement by Minister Zappone will help those providers who are facing significant increases in insurance.
Just to say that the focus of the pre-arranged meeting that I had with Minister Zappone this week was on staff retention and pay as well as the challenges with administration of the various regulations and of course re-registration. Minister Zappone has committed to pursuing these matters with her officials and I expect an update on the progress about these issues, early in the New Year.