Public liability insurance protects businesses from having to pay out of pocket if something goes wrong under their stewardship – but what happens when insurers become more risk averse in the types of companies they will cover? As Australian tourism operators are finding out, this type of clash in priorities can put a whole industry at risk. In a field predicated on risky adventures, insurance is critical.
According to ABC News, several tour operators have already had to shut down their businesses due to an inability to insure their customers. John Allport of Huon River Jet Boats told the news provider he spoke with 20 insurance underwriters to cover his adventure business and stay open. None of the insurers he spoke with would deal with the company, which has Huon concerned about the overall future of the action tourism industry.
There is precedent for the government providing public liability insurance: ABC News reported there is a system in New Zealand in which the Accident Compensation Corporation, operated by the New Zealand state, offers coverage at costs based on risk. With organisations in Australia unable to receive insurance from private companies, they have requested similar consideration from either state or federal agencies.
Despite worry over the future of adventure tourism Federal Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the negativity around adventure tourism is global rather than specific to Australia, and Western Australia Tourism Minister Paul Papalia has admitted that the government does not usually intervene in insurance matters. ABC News did report, however, that Papalia did speak with the small business commissioner to find ways to assist businesses.
Of course, to make public liability coverage matter, tourist destinations will have to open post-COVID. Explorers Web noted that even allowing Australian adventure tourists to go to New Zealand has been an uncertain process. Letting people in to visit Australian businesses from abroad would likely be even more complex. Whether or not a Trans-Tasman travel bubble is possible, adventure tourists from around the globe will likely be kept away for some time.
The risk inherent to adventure destinations is part of their appeal, but actually suffering an injury can be devastating. If you have been injured in a case where the business may be liable, you need to find out whether you are eligible to make a claim against that company's public liability insurance. The experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners understand these types of cases and can help you determine whether you should move ahead.