Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Report asks if Australian tourism industry can be insured?

Report asks if Australian tourism industry can be insured?
January 26, 2021

Ongoing issues with business insurance, particularly in the activity, attractions and tourism sectors, have led an insurance industry publication to ask ‘Can the Australian tourism industry be insured?’.

Published last week in Insurance Business Australia, the article lays the issues operators are experiencing on top of the crisis in tourism, highlighting how the halt in international travel, combined with internal state border shutdowns, has resulted in massive losses for the industry.

Dale Hansen, Chief Executive of the Queensland-based Austbrokers Coast to Coast, told Insurance Business Australia last month, “when you get to a traditional Queensland tourist hotspot like Surfer’s Paradise, there’s just not really that many people around.

“There’s been so much changing with the regulations about crossing into the Queensland border that, even though people from most Australian states have been able to enter quite easily, they’re a bit hesitant to come here in case the border gets shut down again.”

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) Chief Executive, Daniel Gschwind told Insurance Business Australia that before COVID-19 struck, QTIC had already decided that “insurance issues would be a top priority for us in 2020.”

Though these plans were delayed by the pandemic, the continuing rise in insurance prices for many Queensland-based tourism businesses has seen QTIC announce a new project that aims to identify the specific issues concerning this kind of insurance both in the state and across the broader country.

Gschwind explained “a growing number of our members, which include hospitality businesses, travel companies, hotels and more, had told us that their insurance premiums were seeming to increase dramatically.

“In some cases, these prices increased twofold, even threefold, and left many businesses in an extremely difficult position - they couldn’t afford to pay for the insurance cover, but their businesses couldn’t keep functioning without it.”

Focussing on public liability, Gschwind added “some businesses had to curtail the variety of activities that they offer, as things like rope walks, abseiling and horse riding became too expensive for them to get the necessary cover and protection for.”

Gschwind points out that that a number of factors have caused insurance companies to have greater exposures and that QTIC is “looking to work together with government regulators and insurers to find solutions that work for all parties involved.”

Jonathon Ross, Tourism Account Director at JMD Ross Insurance Brokers, explained that premium increases in the tourism industry appear to be largely a result of capacity restrictions.

He noted “it’s not so much that liability rates are going up for tour operators, but instead that hardening of the market and restriction of capacity have reduced the number of insurers that could previously offer the coverage.

“Many leisure underwriters have thought that premiums for high-risk tour activities needed to increase for some time and have now been validated by the removal of low-cost insurance product for this niche industry.”

Ross advised that “more international reinsurers beyond just Lloyd’s are pulling back and are tightening their capacity offering, and, as a result, much of the cheaper tourism insurance products that were once available don’t really exist anymore, as the low-cost underwriting agencies struggle to keep their book together and make significant restrictions to their appetite.”

In his view, proper risk management and investment in safety equipment and upgrades are key for high-risk tour operators, adding “it is not impossible to cover high risk tourism activities, but there’s definitely been, and will continue to be, an increase in premiums for high-risk activities like quad bikes and white-water rafting.

“For a company operating in this space to be covered, they would absolutely need to have a really good business case and capital to front increased premiums. This will unfortunately have a big impact on smaller, high risk tour operators whose cash flows have already been devastated by COVID-19.

“Individual high-risk placements are difficult for underwriters to consider at present, but they appear more amenable to making a case to their reinsurers if they can promise higher placement numbers with specific safety protocols in place.”

Insurance Business Australia also quoted John Lewis, Wholesale Manager at Maroochydore-based AIB Insurance Brokers, who indicated his company’s decision several years ago to forgo insuring businesses related to adventure tourism activities such as quad bike and jet ski riding has proved to be a very smart choice.

Lewis told the publication that AIB’s tourism operator insurance scheme, which is supported by QBE, has continued to attract new clients as competitors have dropped out of the market, stating “premiums might be a little bit higher, but we’ve managed to retain our tourism clients and bring many more on-board

“It’s clear to us that the appetite is still there.”

Click here to read the original article.

Image: Paddle boarders at Pumicestone Passage on the Sunshine Coast.

Related Articles

21st January 2021 - Australian tourism industry haemorrhaged almost $7 billion over the summer holidays

20th January 2021 - WTTC predicts over 100 million global tourism jobs could be recovered during 2021

19th January 2021 - Tourism Australia Managing Director predicts top global travel trends for 2021

14th January 2021 - QTIC to survey operators on insurance crisis

12th January 2021 - Sportscover partners with Sport Climbing Australia to offer insurance for climbers

29th December 2020 - Ombudsman’s report calls for action in addressing ‘national crisis’ in insurance coverage

10th December 2020 - Insurance crisis set to force closures of Australian attractions and adventure tourism businesses

16th November 2020 - Industry operators impacted by rising insurance premiums

30th December 2020 - AALARA releases ‘urgent request for the survival of our industry’

18th November 2020 - AALARA takes action as attractions operators face public liability issues

27th May 2020 - AALARA releases guide for the reopening of Australia’s attractions industry

22nd October 2020 - Festival promoters call for Federal Government insurance scheme

12th June 2020 - Insurance refusals impacting adventure tourism operators

15th September 2018 - Commercial trampoline centre operators struggle to secure insurance

30th December 2014 - Queensland entrepreneur launches new adventure tourism insurance company

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

iDwala Pty Ltd

iDwala is the Community Sports Surface Specialist offering the highest quality designs and technical expertise to Councils, Schools and Sporting Clubs looking to create sporting…

read more

Consultants / Design / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces



Founded in 1961, Myrtha Pools® quickly became Italy’s première swimming pool company, and has since grown into one of the world's leading swimming pool construction…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks / Wellness



Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Design / Venues



We are the leading providers of kids fun multi-sports programs for Sport and Recreation Centres. Programs cover twelve common sports as well as Gross Motor Skill Development and suit children from as…

read more

Fitness / Play / Recreation / Sport / Wellness


The Jump Pad

The Jump Pad is a safe, flat inflatable made in a variety of sizes which can be used indoor or outdoor. From 3mx3m up to a whopping 9mx21m. Markets include Indoor and outdoor playgrounds, schools,…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Play


Enta Australasia

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues


ProSlide Technology

ProSlide is the global leader in water ride design and manufacturing, supplying high-performance water attractions to new and expanding water parks around the world. For over three decades, ProSlide…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business