State action on Covid19-related business interruption claims ‘invisible’

Alliance echoes call of lone horseman for ‘complete reform of insurance
State action on Covid19-related business interruption claims ‘invisible’

 

As horseman Sean Kilkenny continues his insurance protest trek from County Clare to Leinster House with his coach and horses, the Alliance for Insurance Reform has expressed intense frustration at ongoing delays in action on insurance.

 

 

Linda Murray, Director of the Alliance and owner of Huckleberry’s Den play centre in Navan said “We completely sympathise with Sean on the loss of his livelihood and echo his call for ‘complete reform of insurance in Ireland’.

“SMEs, community and voluntary groups are dealing with the results of that lack of reform every day, through unsustainable insurance costs and fear for the future of their organisation as the insurance crisis hampers their recovery from the pandemic.”

Michael Magner, Chair of the Alliance’s Covid19 Working Group and owner of Cork’s Vienna Woods Hotel said "The Covid19 pandemic has thrown up multiple issues with regard to insurance and the State response on business interruption (BI) claims in particular has been invisible. The Alliance wrote to the Governor of the Central Bank on the 23rd March urging him to take action that would “quickly turn a blanket ban (by insurers on covering any Covid19-related BI claims) into a sensible resolution of the problem.” To date, all we have seen from the Central Bank is a number of public pronouncements, but no solid action.

“Equally, our June 8th request to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman that he “put in place an emergency fast track process leading to a legally binding decision for the business interruption related complaints your office has already received, in order to provide some guidance to the many businesses faced with BI refusals” has gone unanswered.

“Small businesses and community enterprises waiting for clarification on their business interruption claims cannot wait for months or even years for a clear decision. Following standard operating procedures is not enough in this crisis. We urge the Central Bank Governor and the Ombudsman to move swiftly to get clarity on who is covered by BI insurance and to what extent.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said " If the Government is expecting the economy to recover through SMEs and for society to recover through community and voluntary groups, insurance reform needs to be resolved this year. While the pandemic has made matters even worse for policyholders, the fundamentals that must be addressed have not changed.

“Unfair general damages must be cut to reflect international norms and ensure that legitimate minor injuries attract modest damages. The Alliance expects general damages for minor injuries to be dramatically reduced along the lines of the Fair Book of Quantum published by ISME.

“The ‘common duty of care’ must be urgently reviewed and re-balanced so that occupiers are required to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate but not absolute, ignoring personal responsibility.

“A fully resourced, dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit must be established. “And Government must insist on insurers committing to a schedule of reductions on delivery of the key reforms being progressed. “Finally, we call again on Government to reinstate the Cabinet subcommittee on insurance reform dropped at the last minute from the final Programme for Government document. With all relevant Ministers and civil servants to be actively involved, this committee is essential to coordinate action and ensure the necessary reforms are put in place urgently.”

For further information contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

Cork-based M&P O’ Sullivan acquires Assets of Brennan’s Caterworld

Cork-based food wholesale business M&P O’Sullivan Ltd. (M&P) has acquired Brennan’s Caterworld assets & trading names, which went into liquidation last month.

The undisclosed deal, which merges the trade of two of Cork’s oldest companies, will see the catering supplies business added to M&P’s wholesale portfolio, which also includes Homestead, White Hat and Red Abbey, bringing their product range to over 15,000 lines .  

M&P also operates the Gala retail and Your Stop franchises with 30 franchisees and 1,500 active customers who order weekly across their frozen, fresh, ambient, alcohol, packaging and minerals ranges.  

The company plans to expand the retail space of its Sarsfield Road warehouse in Cork by approximately 3,000 square foot to accommodate the Brennan’s Caterworld product range.

Commenting, co-Director of M&P O’ Sullivan, Eoin O Sullivan and president of the Cork Business Association, said, “Brennan’s Caterworld is an excellent strategic fit for M&P and will strengthen our existing wholesale business.  We previously distributed a small line of their catering supply products, which proved to be very popular with our customers, so we are delighted to now be in a position to extend our offering to the full range through the acquisition.

“The asset acquisition forms part of our overall strategy to deliver long term sustainable growth and enhance our own range of affordable high-quality products for our retail and foodservice customers.” 

“We are cautiously optimistic about the hospitality industry and are focused in particular on the quick serve and takeaway restaurant business, which is experiencing significant growth since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Brennan’s Caterworld is Ireland’s longest running catering equipment and supplies business, founded in 1872, with an annual turnover of €3 million.

 

M&P O’Sullivan is a progressive 4th generation family business, founded in 1905, which has experienced substantial growth over the last 5 years. The company is operated by Directors and cousins Eoin O’Sullivan, Sales Director, and Patrick O’Sullivan, Purchasing Director. The successful partnership has seen the business flourish over the last number of years.  M&P currently employs 60 people and plays an integral part in the Irish food industry. 

The acquisition of Brennan’s Caterworld assets & trading names follows on from a significant investment, two years ago, in new temperature-controlled warehousing and a fleet of temperature-controlled delivery vehicles, which extends the range of products that can be supplied by the food distribution company. The business has also invested considerably in its Gala franchise with an additional 4 new franchise stores on track to be opened this year. 

For more see www.mpos.ie.

 

 

Update on Payments Awarded for Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Enhanced Illness Benefit

From Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Published at: 13 July 2020

Last updated 13 July 2020

In order to ensure that their claim is processed correctly, workers who are returning to work must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date that they start back at work.

Continued Eligibility to receive Pandemic Unemployment Payment - As is standard with all jobseeker payments people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are required to confirm their eligibility to continue to receive the payment. They can do this online and must do so today, Monday, 13th July, which is the deadline for PUP recipients to confirm their continued eligibility. Failure to do so may affect their entitlement to continue to receive a payment.

Numbers depending on Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) has dropped by 42 per cent since 5th May peak

PUP recipient figure falls 67,300 in past week – largest weekly decrease to date

Today  (13th of July 2020) represents deadline for PUP recipients to confirm eligibility

Electrical engineer back at work

 

The Department of Social Protection issued payments valued at €106.8m to 345,600 people for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). This represents a decrease of 67,300 on the 412,900 people paid last week, the largest weekly decrease to date and a decrease of 252,400 since 5th May when 598,000 people received the payment.

In the past seven days, 44,400 people have closed their claim for a Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Some 19,800 will be receiving their final payment tomorrow.

Similar to last week, the top three sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are Accommodation and Food Services, Other Sectors e.g. hairdressers, barbers and Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles.

Again, this week, the largest cohort returning to work is aged 35-44.

Minister for Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands, Heather Humphreys, T.D., today said:

“It is heartening to see that the phased approach set out in the Roadmap to Recovery is now being reflected in the number of people returning to work. Today’s figures are reassuring for employees, businesses and communities throughout the State as they clearly show people getting back to work with a significant fall in the number of people in every county receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. A further 44,400 people have closed their claims in the past week with 36,600 of these confirming that they are returning to work. I am particularly pleased to see that the number of employees in the Accommodation and Food service area who are back in work again being supported by the Government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy scheme. This number has increased from 8,100 last week to 22,000 this week.”

“The Government is now finalising its work on preparing the July Economic stimulus package that will drive the way for an economic recovery. I am confident this will help the thousands of workers and businesses who were badly impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

As well as those availing of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, there are now over 66,900 employers who have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). An estimated 405,000 employees are currently being supported by the scheme having received a subsidy in their most recent pay period.

The above payments are in addition to the 220,900 people who were reported on the Live Register as of the end of June. All Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments issued will be in recipients’ bank accounts or at their local post office tomorrow, Tuesday, 14th July.

Payment Rates

This is the second week of the two-tiered payment structure for people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

  • Employees whose average weekly earnings in 2019 or January and February 2020 (whichever is the higher) were less than €200 gross will receive a weekly Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €203 a week. This equates to the standard jobseeker rate of payment and as it is higher than the person’s prior earnings will still mean that people, who receive €203 per week, are in receipt of a higher income than they had prior to being laid-off due to Covid-19.
  • Employees with average earnings of €200 or more a week will continue to receive €350 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. 3 in 4 recipients (75%) will continue to receive €350 per week.
  • The payment to self-employed people has been assessed based on their 2018 returns to the Revenue Commissioners (Returns for 2019 are not due until later in 2020).

Some 95,800 people will receive the €203 rate of payment this week. The majority of people (249,800) will continue to receive the €350 rate of payment.

Any person who believes that their new payment rate does not accurately reflect their prior earnings can contact the Department to request a review of earnings and forward all supporting documents, which will be matched with Revenue records. They can contact the Department by:

- Emailing PUPRerate@welfare.ie; or

- Writing to Pandemic Unemployment Rerate Requests, DEASP, Intreo Centre, Cork Road, Waterford or

- Calling 1890 800 024

Anybody who requires further information in relation to the rate change, including how it is calculated and information on requesting a review, can access our Frequently Asked Questions at the link here or can contact the Department’s Income Support Helpline at 1890 800 024.

People returning to work

In the past week, some 44,400 people closed their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment of which 36,600 reported that they were returning to work. Of those 36,600 returning to work, some 19,800 are receiving their last payment this week. As the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a weekly payment paid in arrears, there can be a one week lag in how closures, due to people returning to work, are reflected in the payment data. The reduction in the number of people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will, therefore, be reflected in next week’s figures.

The top three sectors in which employees are returning to work this week are Accommodation and Food Services (12,400), Other Sectors e.g. hairdressers, barbers (5,100) and Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles and motorcycles (4,200). A full breakdown of the sectors in this area is set out at Appendix 7 below.

Looking at the age profile of employees returning to work this week, the largest cohort are those aged 35-44 with 8,900 returning to employment, followed by those employees aged 25-34 (8,500). This is followed by 8,400 in the under 25 age group and 6,500 aged 45-54, all of whom are returning to work. Full details are available at Appendix 8.

The number of Pandemic Unemployment Payment recipients who closed their claim since the start of Phase 1 (18th May) and who are currently availing of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) has increased to 69,600 compared to 47,100 this time last week, the biggest increase being in the Accommodation and Food Services sector.

The Department continues to remind workers who are returning to work that they must close their claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

In order to ensure that their claim is processed correctly, workers who are returning to work must close their claim for the PUP payment on the actual date that they start back at work. Since the commencement of Phase One of the Government’s Roadmap for the Reopening of Society and Business, over 236,000 employees have closed their claims and returned to work.

The easiest way to close a claim for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is online via www.MyWelfare.ie . Any worker returning to work with an enquiry about closing their claim, can contact the Department’s dedicated income support helpline at 1890 800 024 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm).

Continued Eligibility to receive Pandemic Unemployment Payment

As is standard with all jobseeker payments people receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are required to confirm their eligibility to continue to receive the payment. They can do this online and must do so today, Monday, 13th July, which is the deadline for PUP recipients to confirm their continued eligibility. Failure to do so may affect their entitlement to continue to receive a payment.

To do so, recipients should use the online portal www.MyWelfare.ie and follow the instructions under the heading ‘continue eligibility to receive Pandemic Unemployment Payment’. This is the simplest and easiest way to do so. Any person who experiences difficulty in doing this should contact the helpline 1890 800 024 (Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm.)

Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

There are now over 66,900 employers who have registered with the Revenue Commissioners for the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). Workers whose employers have registered them on the scheme are not eligible to receive a pandemic unemployment payment. In addition workers who were in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment but who have now been registered by their employers on the TWSS are no longer eligible to receive a pandemic unemployment payment.

Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment

To date 52,200 people under age 66 have been medically certified for receipt of the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit. Just over 7% (3,882) have been diagnosed with Covid-19 while almost 93% (48,318) were required to medically self-isolate.

Since the beginning of June, however, 221 people have been medically certified with having Coronavirus while 1,179 others have been medically certified because they are medically self-isolating.

The sector with the highest number of employees medically certified to receive Covid-19 Illness Benefit continues to be the Human Health and Social Work sector (11,700) followed by Wholesale and Retail Trade (11,000) and Manufacturing (7,000). Full details are at Appendices 11, 12 and 13.

Currently, there are 890 people receiving a Covid-19 related Illness Benefit payment from the Department.

www.MyWelfare.ie

The Department wishes to thank its customers for submitting the majority of applications through our online portal www.MyWelfare.ie . This is the quickest and easiest way to submit an application or close a Covid-19-Pandemic Unemployment Payment, or for an individual to confirm their continued eligibility for the payment.

In the interests of the public health advice and the restrictions on movements people are asked, if at all possible not to attend their local Intreo Centre. Instead, they should avail of the online services available through www.MyWelfare.ie .

 

Employer related queries for those of you based in Cork or with members based in Cork we can be reached on 021 4805437 or by email to employercork@welfare.ie

 

 

Champion Green: Pledge to Shop Local

Industry asks Consumers to Champion Green and Support Local

A badly needed injection of €875 million to the local economy is possible if each adult in the country spent just €20 extra a week in small businesses, for the next 12 weeks, the Director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), Sven Spollen-Behrens, said today at the launch of Champion Green in Dublin city centre.

Supported by Kilkenny Design and Visa, in association with Retail Excellence, Small Firms Association and Chambers Ireland, Champion Green is a consumer marketing initiative backed by a €1M investment to drive support for local business and enterprise.

“This small conscious decision to support local would have a huge, positive impact on jobs and the vibrancy of towns and local communities”, the head of the SFA explained.

“With most businesses now re-opened, we are appealing to consumers to use the coming weeks as an opportunity to focus on shopping local and supporting local businesses, online and in-store, as they recover from the impact of Covid-19.

‘All Rise’ is the compelling cry of the national movement which organisers say will drive the renewal of local communities and reinvigorate enterprise and economic recovery.

A green butterfly symbol represents the campaign, illustrating the potential for renewal and growth as Ireland emerges from its cocoon.

Retail group Kilkenny Design is responsible for the campaign development and Champion Green was launched today by Media personality and businesswoman, Aoibhín Garrihy, at a substantial new butterfly wall mural, painted on Camden Row in Dublin.

 

With the expectation that 400,000 may be unemployed by year-end, and a significant deficit in the public finances of up to €30 billion this year, it is crucial that we all understand the implications of our purchasing decisions, Marian O’Gorman, Campaign Creator & Kilkenny Design CEO, says.

“This is a drive to encourage people to do business locally, to get behind small local enterprise, and for businesses and organisations to up their support for local suppliers too.   We all need to get behind Irish brands and local businesses and use local services, for the sake of jobs and national prosperity”, the business leader says.

Philip Konopik, Ireland Country Manager, Visa highlighted that the national campaign to promote supporting local businesses comes at a crucial time for thousands of businesses across the country that form the backbone of the Irish economy.

“Where you shop matters and this is more important than ever before, as businesses at the heart of communities across Ireland grapple with the challenges of the pandemic. Their survival will be key to the recovery of the Irish economy.

“Visa is proud to play its part in this campaign by helping to empower Irish SMEs to take advantage of the benefits offered by digital payments and build for the future. While shoppers can feel secure by using digital payments, we would encourage them to think about where they shop as the local economy reopens.”

65% of Workforce in SMEs

SMEs employ 65% of Ireland’s national workforce.  Work in retail alone represents 280,000 jobs and over 80% of the entire retail sector has been closed for three months, with devastating financial impact, Jean McCabe, Deputy Chair of Retail Excellence, says.

“With health and social welfare running up unprecedented spending, Ireland will need absolutely everyone to get behind local industry and jobs, if we are to emerge from this crisis situation.

Tourism and hospitality has been wiped out, retail and manufacturing is struggling, while many services can still not resume.  If the people of Ireland do not support local now, and into the future, many may not resume,” the business representative warned.

The extensive Champion Green advertising and public information campaign provides a digital hub of resources for businesses and service-providers to signal that they are locally owned or employ locally, and to promote products and brands designed or made in Ireland.

A Champion Green Pledge to support can be made online, http://championgreen.ie/, and will circulate on social media so people better understand the positive impact their choices can have.

A recent survey by the Kilkenny Design group indicated that 84% of people prefer to buy from local suppliers, sentiment it is hoped that Champion Green can leverage.

Turnover in the business economy and almost 39% of Gross Value Added is attributed to SMEs, according to the Small Firms Association.  Furthermore, small business accounts for as much as 93% of construction employment and 70% of services employment in Ireland.

Our strength is in our numbers

As our country moves rapidly forward from what has been the most difficult of times for individuals and businesses, we, at CBA, are continuing to work on your behalf.  As we are sure you’re aware we were continuously available throughout this crisis and were delighted to be able to step to the fore on behalf of our members.  This crisis has made us even more conscious of the need for the businesses of Cork to work together. 

As businesses and society begin to emerge, we are still conscious that we must all proceed with caution. We, as a national community, have achieved great strides in combating this virus but work in this area is still continuing. CBA will continue to act as a conduit on behalf of its members, lobbying for their needs and aid requirements through the various local and national stakeholders and authorities, despite our small staff, we will persevere in all of our work which has now become a 7-day a week task. 

In addition to our direct one on one work, support and consultancy with our members, we were also extremely busy with delivering resources directly to our members such as webinars, conferences and masterclasses, which we hope you derived as much from them as we did.

 

Business grants and supports

Following the direct result of lobbying on behalf of our members, we were successful in achieving rates deferral, payment moratoriums, business grants and support. We also are still working with the government and all stakeholders in relation to additional supports, VAT reductions, grants and clarification surrounding regulations and recommendations. 

 

Parking

Another key request from several members across various business sectors was in relation to the issue around parking, and thankfully following more strategic meetings with members of Cork City Council, both North Main Street and Paul Street Car Parks were free for a number of months. Whilst charges have now been reintroduced we have ensured that the first two hours are still free as an incentive for customers to come into the city. 

Pedestrianisation

As many of you are aware, we have also been influential in the consultation process that Cork City Council has opened up to the general public and businesses regarding the reopening of the city and also led the lobbying regarding the wider use of street furniture, we were also successful in ensuring the relevant licence fee is waived for 2020. We also supported where appropriate the utilisation of streets for expanded business usage, and successfully requested the abolition of plans for one-way street systems for pedestrians.

 

Security

Following various requests from members across the city and concerns for safety on our streets, we utilised our ongoing strategic partnership with An Garda Síochána and obtained a designated Cork City Garda Task Force to provide additional security for existing and returning businesses and their customers. 

Promotion of your business

As you are probably aware we have also commissioned, with the support of Cork City Council, a specific Cork City Shopping website to act as a free resource for businesses across Cork. We would ask you to ensure that you have been included – the designer has allowed for a form which is easy to complete and will ensure your inclusion. A full marketing campaign is currently running on this project and will continue to do so in the coming months. 

We look forward to working on your behalf for the coming year once again.  

Payment Plans

If are a member of the Cork Business Association you will receive an invoice form us for the membership fee in the following week. If you prefer to pay by direct debit on a Yearly, Quarterly or Monthly basis please contact the office and we will send you the required form.  If you prefer to pay in installments also please just contact us: info@corkbusiness.ie

Become a member!

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Cork Business Association we now offer different payment options. You can receive a yearly invoice, if you sign up now you will pay only for the rest of the year or pay via direct debit: yearly, quarterly,  monthly, whatever suits your needs.   See our Membership Fees & Form.

 

Shop Cork Online

Shop Online Cork

With the recent news that all non-essential shops and retail outlets must close to help the containment of Covid19 or Coronavirus, we, at Cork Business Association, are determined to offer support to those local businesses offering online shopping options. Just because you can't go to the shop yourself, doesn't mean you can't shop local! 

On Social Media channels use hashtag #shopcorkonline and help customers find you. #corkcity #cork #shoplocal #shoponline #socialdistance

Check back here for updates on who's offering online services and products or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or contact us here. We're here to help. We may not be in the office but we're only an email, tweet, phone call away!

Shop Cork Online! Some Local Shops Selling Online:

For everything you need from groceries to toys, fan club merchandise to Irish crafts, wine and bubbles to olives and paté, and even a bit of culture we've got you covered locally! Who needs the big corporations when you can support your own neighbours, friends, and communities.

(Check back later for more as we update!)

 

 

 

 

 

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