Categories: Press Releases

by Brian Hanley

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PRESS RELEASE

28th September 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  • The information contained in the Court Service Annual Report 2022 regarding personal injury actions is compelling and raises major questions about insurance companies in Ireland and the premiums they charge.
  • “How much longer can this be allowed to continue in the face of mounting evidence that demands premium reductions? Awards fell by €36 million last year.”
  • “The Judicial Guidelines weren’t introduced solely for the benefit of insurance companies.”
  • The Government needs to do more as large parts of Irish society from business to the arts and everything in between are adversely impacted by exorbitant premiums.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform calls for urgent Government action to be taken to address intractably high insurance premiums in the face of ever decreasing volumes of claims and award sizes. “The Judicial Guidelines appear to have had a significant impact on the size of awards” said Flora Crowe, Alliance Board member and grocery store owner, “but this is simply not being reflected in liability premiums. How much longer can this be allowed to continue in the face of mounting evidence that demands premium reductions? Awards fell by €36 million last year.”

Also of note in the Court Service Annual Report 2022:

  • The number of awards made in Circuit Courts dropped to 57% of 2019’s volume and 58% of the value.
  • New personal injury cases fell by more than 40% in the last four years and
  • Circuit Court awards were €15 million last year, down 42% from €25.9 million in 2019.

Alliance Board member and CEO of The Wheel, a representative body for Irish charities, Ivan Cooper welcomed “the clear benefits the Judicial Guidelines have yielded in terms of awards.” However, he said “The Judicial Guidelines weren’t introduced solely for the benefit of insurance companies and the millions of euro being saved because of them should be shared with small businesses, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and charities right across the country. The Government needs to do more.”

—ENDS—

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: contact@insurancereform.ie or Alliance CEO, Brian Hanley at 086 8620 974.

Notes:

  1. The Alliance for Insurance Reform brings together 48 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 700,000 employees, 614,000 volunteers and 374,000 students in highlighting the negative impact of persistently high premiums and calling for real reforms that will quickly reduce liability and motor insurance premiums to affordable levels and keep them that way.
  1. “Insurers repeatedly maintained to the Cost of Insurance Working Group, the Personal Injuries Commission, the Oireachtas Finance Committee and elsewhere that the cost of claims drives premium costs.”
    The insurance industry and other stakeholders have consistently pointed to increased claims inflation and claims frequency in recent years as the primary reason for the rise in cost of insurance. P42, Cost of Insurance Working GroupREPORT ON THE COST OF MOTOR INSURANCE
  1. Reforms to date:
  • In March 2021, the Judicial Guidelines were introduced, replacing the Book of Quantum for the assessment of awards in personal injury cases. The Guidelines provided more detailed guidance in the assessment of awards and have contributed significantly to reducing awards to levels seen in other European countries by more accurately ascribing specific values to specific claims.
  • A Garda National Insurance Fraud Unit has been established. According to the CSO, there were 98 insurance fraud cases recorded by An Garda Síochána in 2022, compared to 18,453 personal injury claims in the same year. That is half of one percent yet insurers have regularly insisted that up to 20pc of claims are fraudulent. Insurers expect An Garda Síochána to step up to the mark in preventing it, but with very few exceptions, they are not prepared to invest in detection or reporting themselves.
  • The volume of claims and size of awards have dropped considerably in recent years without any noticeable improvement in public liability premiums:
  • The total number of personal injury claims submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) continues to fall. It is now down by 46% between 2016 and 2022.
  • The average PIAB public liability assessment is -39%compared to the average 2020 assessment under the old Book of Quantum.
  • The recently published (July 2023) NCID mid-year data report on public liabilityby the Central Bank found a 12% reduction in the total cost of settled injury claims to H1 2022 from the 2015-2019 pre-Covid average.