“High risk”: the insurance industry refuses people with disabilities

A Dublin woman with cerebral palsy has urged the government to approach the insurance industry over its refusal to provide coverage for people with disabilities who run their own businesses.

ileen Daly started a freelance living business in 2018 and says the move has transformed her life.

The 46-year-old has been in a wheelchair since birth and currently employs eight part-time personal assistants who help her at home and at work.

Ms. Daly previously paid € 600 for civil liability and employer liability insurance but this year it was listed at just over € 3,600 after its former UK insurer exited the market.

No Irish company would even provide a quote.

“I tried to explain the concept to the insurance companies and how the company helps people like me to live independently, but they said there was no appetite for risk,” he said. she declared to Independent Irish.

“Personal assistants help me with all aspects of my personal care. They drive my adapted vehicle and help me with household chores and all related activities. All the staff are trained in manual handling and it’s not a medical role, they’re just there to help with day-to-day living, and there’s never been a single complaint or anything.

“If I need help with something specific to my disability, it is provided by public health, not my personal assistants. ”

Ms. Daly works full time as a Student Support Officer and Career Counselor.

She said being able to manage her own care has been a big help.

Other people with disabilities who run their own businesses have also seen their premiums increase.

Graham Boyd, of Tinahely, Co Wicklow, was involved in a quad biking accident six years ago that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down.

He employs six part-time assistants to help him at home and has seen his insurance more than double.

“We depend on personal caregivers to lead as normal a life as possible,” said his wife Lillian Boyd.

“Insurance has risen to around € 2,000. We’re concerned that we won’t be able to get insurance next year and what will happen then, as Graham needs about 100 hours a week of personal assistants. Irish insurance companies wouldn’t even consider us. Having to go back to a normal provider would be catastrophic. “

Ms Boyd said they were given the impression that insurers thought they were “too high risk”.

“What good is insurance when they don’t cover the risk, I thought that was what they were there for. Insurance has been our biggest worry, forget about Covid. “

When the couple started their own business, it allowed them to lead Mr Boyd’s care, rather than relying on disability service providers.

“When the accident happened we had to remodel our house and we found it quite frustrating to deal directly with the service providers so this system works for us,” Ms. Boyd said.

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