The Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response has heard that business owners renewing their insurance policy have been told they have no cover for the coronavirus.

Chief Executive of the Vintners Association of Ireland, Padraig Cribben, told politicians that a significant amount of insurance reform is required.

"Effectively if there is an issue on your premises, you're on your own. The only potential defence you have there is in the question of following the guidelines."

He said at the moment the premises owner has "absolute" duty of care and he said there was nothing about personal responsibility.

He said legislation needed to be put in place to "underpin" a change in relation to a duty of care.

He was responding to Green Party TD Stephen Matthews who said he was contacted before Covid-19 by pubs who were having difficulty with insurance.

He said it would be extremely difficult for businesses to manage social distancing.

Deputy Matthews asked if they are unable to manage it and a cluster develops, will there be liability on those owners for that.

The Irish Hotels Federation also said there are some insurance policies that are seeking to exclude Covid-19 - which it described as a "huge concern".

Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, from the Irish Hotels Federation, told the committee that hotels have continued to pay insurance.

However, she said against the background of a reduced amount of activity, they were not seeing it mirrored with the same levels of decreases in insurance premiums.

She said there were some policies that are seeking to exclude Covid-19 - which she said was a source of huge concern as businesses reopened yesterday after 105 days of "cash burn".

Ms Fitzgerald Kane said it was something that needed to be seriously addressed.

She was responding to Fine Gael TD Colm Burke who said there should be a reduction in insurance costs, considering hotels have been closed for three months.