123. Set the same insurance rates for all schools

Many people wouldn’t realise that there is only one insurance company in Ireland that covers schools. It’s called Allianz. They used to be known as Church and General. This might explain why.

However, in the post church-run world of school insurance, you might be surprised to learn that schools do not all pay the same insurance rates. Schools are clustered together into group rates. Depending on your diocese, (yes, it’s run along religious lines), your insurance rates could be different to the next one.

On top of that, if you’re “unlucky enough” to be in a Gaelscoil or Educate Together school, you’re going to get pasted because the strong likelihood is that you don’t even own your own building so your rate is going to reflect this.

Of course, none of this would matter if schools weren’t footing the bill themselves. The problem is that all schools receive the same capitation grant but insurance rates vary so much that if you are in the “wrong” diocese or, worse, not in a religious-run school at all, you are going to be paying more per annum. This means some schools have an extra couple of thousand euro in their piggybanks because their group is deemed to have been of lesser risk. 

Being of lesser risk often means that your “group” has had less claims so let’s say an accident happens in a Gaelscoil and a large payment has to be made to the family, all Gaelscoileanna’s have their premium increased the following year! 

Given the monopoly on school insurance, there’s nowhere to go. Brokers will try and get a decent deal but it’s the same story.

This is an absolutely crazy system and it needs to change. Two things:

  1. Scrap all these idiotic group schemes based on religious-run lines. All schools should be treated equally.
  2. Rather than providing schools with capitation grants to cover some of the costs, the Department of Education should pay the premium for all schools to the insurance companies. Firstly, this would make things cheaper overall saving the DES money and, secondly, there would be no need for all the middleman stuff, saving even more money.

I have tried to find out the different rates that are charged depending on patronage but Allianz will not provide this information. My suspicion is that if there wasn’t any differences between patron bodies, the would have no issue with publishing them. As I’m no expert on insurance, I’ll just stick to my two suggestions above and let some intrepid journalist figure the rest out.

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