Bands on the run — Musicians are being penalised by high motor insurance, says Rabbitte

Band members and singers are being penalised by exorbitant motor insurance fees, Fianna Fail TD Anne Rabbitte said in the Dail when she hit out at the government for failing to curb rising motor insurance costs for drivers and businesses.

She raised the issue in the Dáil to focus particularly on the situation facing people in the entertainment industry, who are finding it increasingly difficult to get affordable cover.

Deputy Rabbitte explained, that motor insurance costs have been a major issue for drivers in Ireland over the past number of years and Fianna Fáil has been to the fore in pressing the government to take action.

“It’s now one year since the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance was published but many drivers are still facing unacceptably high premium prices. Businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to get quoted – and an issue that has been brought to my attention is the fact that musicians, bands, technicians and other people involved in the entertainment industry who travel to gigs are now having problems getting open insurance.

She said that she has been contacted by a number of singers and band members who are either getting exorbitant quotes or are not being quoted at all. “I have been made aware of some quotes in excess of €10,000, which does not even include an “open drive” option. Open insurance is important for bands, technicians and roadies so that they can alternate driving responsibilities.”

“The fact that it is not being offered poses major health and safety issues. It’s extremely common for bands to have to drive a number of hours to gigs and events in different parts of the country but it’s very dangerous to expect the same person to undertake all of the driving – this is what has to happen if a band can’t get open insurance,” she said.

Dep Rabbitte said that this is a very serious issue as driving long distances can result in driver fatigue, which is the cause of one fifth of road deaths every year. “Musicians and people in the entertainment industry feel that they are being discriminated against – and are worried that if they continue to be refused insurance, their businesses will not survive.

“One woman, who had been a housewife but became a wedding singer, saw her insurance quote quadrupled. I am calling for the Insurance Forum to examine this issue at its next meeting, which is due to take place in the second quarter of the year. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue, it is deeply unfair on singers and musicians who are trying to make a living,” she concluded.

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