Ireland’s first indoor inflatable theme park is closing its doors after just two years due to insurance costs and the pandemic.
Dan Begley, owner of Inflata Zone in west Dublin, says a culture of claiming for minor accidents is killing the leisure industry.
The company’s insurance premium was €38,000 last year and Mr Begley has made the tough decision to not renew the policy.
He is urging the Government to address the “unfair” duty of care which is expected of business owners.
“Parents are claiming on behalf of their children even in cases where they made a full recovery and it was a simple, every day accident,” he said.
“Major reform is needed in terms of the duty of care, otherwise it will not be viable for more and more businesses just like ours to continue trading.”
Inflata Zone’s closure has devastated parents in the area and the dozens of young adults who worked at the theme park.
The venue had an obstacle course, a climbing wall and bouncing castles, which rendered the activity centre “high risk” in a country being crippled by an insurance crisis.
“The Covid-19 pandemic was obviously a major hit but the ongoing unsustainable cost of insurance and the steady stream of claims, which I believe would have led to premiums increasing by anything from 50pc to 100pc based on similar historic occurrences in the industry, made it impossible to keep going,” Mr Begley said.
“Any time your insurance is up for renewal you’re holding your breath.”
While he believes “insurance companies are no angels”, Mr Begley is of the view the main problem is that people are “too quick to claim”.
“It’s very disheartening when you see the awards being given out for minor incidents, especially where there was a full recovery,” he said.
A notice on Inflata Zone’s website reads “permanently closed”.
“A lot of parents got in touch to say they’re devastated. We all are,” he said.