ACAL calls for compulsory insurance for tourism sector. Only ten to 15 percent of restaurants covered - Lebanon

ACAL calls for compulsory insurance for tourism sector
Only ten to 15 percent of restaurants covered
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The Association of Insurance Companies (ACAL) is working with the Ministry of Tourism to try and make insurance coverage, especially accident and third party liability cover, compulsory for all hotels, restaurants, and beach resorts.

“This is especially important in a country like ours. Today if someone gets food poisoning in a restaurant there is no cover, maybe ten to 15 percent of restaurants are covered,” said Assaad Mirza, president of ACAL.

He said that even some hotels and beach resorts do not have insurance cover: “If someone drowns, or slips and falls and breaks a leg, no one gives them a second look.”

ACAL had done something along similar lines with the Ministry of Industry back in 2010. In June of that year, the minister of industry issued a decree obliging all industrial firms to take out three types of insurance: Fire insurance, workmen’s compensation, and liability, otherwise their certificates would not be renewed.

Asked if the same would be a good idea for the tourism sector, Pierre Achkar, president of the Syndicate of Hotels, agreed that it would: “Why not, it would be a good step. At any rate international tour operators always look at (insurance) such things when they deal with local hotels.”

Achkar said that the overwhelming majority of three, four, and five star hotels have the proper insurance cover, only small pensions tucked away in outlying areas, and one and two star hotels may not have insurance.

“There is no law that obliges tourism establishments to take out insurance as such,” said Ashkar. “Those establishments who do not take out such insurance usually do not have the financial means to get insurance, but we have not to date heard of any incidents (involving lack of cover) at hotels and resorts.”

Reported by Hani Bathiche
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Date Posted: Jul 11, 2012