Wedding insurance: in demand

AN insurance company in the west of Ireland has become the first in the country to offer a comprehensive package for same-sex marriages.

Hastings & Co Insurance Brokers in Co Mayo has introduced a policy for same-sex Irish couples getting married abroad and expects an increase in demand once civil partnership legislation is made law in Ireland.

The recently published Civil Partnership Bill will give many of the statutory rights enjoyed by married couples to same-sex unions, particularly in the eyes of Revenue.

Hastings & Co said it broadened its insurance policy for wedding ceremonies to include such future events.

"We have been selling wedding insurance since 2005; we were the first to bring it into this country and this is a recent development," said commercial manager Alan Murphy.

"It was really through the amount of inquiries that we had from same-sex couples who are going abroad for services.

"We discussed it with the underwriters who were also happy to oblige and a couple of months ago we extended the criteria to allow same-sex couples to get insurance.

"It's the same policy, it's just more inclusive and it is something that will generate interest. It has been available in the UK and in the US for a number of years."

Operating along the same lines as standard wedding insurance, the policies include coverage in the event either partner cannot make it to the service, the closure of venues due to financial hardship or fires, as well as more trivial problems like photographers not showing up.

So far 2009 has been the busiest ever period for wedding insurance queries due to couples' concerns over failing businesses.

"With the economy that we are in at the moment... the first few months of this year have been our busiest," said Murphy.