Press Releases Archive

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
03/11/2022

Alliance welcomes latest PIAB personal injury report

Credibility of insurance reform process damaged as liability insurers pocket benefits

  • The total number of personal injury claims in the country has been falling dramatically since peaking in 2016; the 2022 total will be the lowest in over 15 years1
  • Overall, the average award in Jan-Jun 2022 was €14,786, 38% lower than before Judicial Guidelines were implemented
  • PIAB reports average acceptance rate of awards has risen to 48%, up from 36% in May 2021
  • Liability insurance premiums continue to increase

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has called on Government to get serious with the insurance industry following confirmation from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) that the new Judicial Personal Injuries Guidelines continue to have a very positive and improving impact on personal injury claims costs.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, said “We welcome today’s report from PIAB showing serious reductions in the total number of personal injury claims, the average awards and the numbers of claimants heading to litigation. Liability insurers are pocketing these benefits and it is up to Government to get serious with them to ensure that the benefits are passed on in premium reductions to SMEs, voluntary and community groups, charities and sports and cultural organisations struggling with the costs of staying open.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Insurers have repeatedly and consistently maintained to the Cost of Insurance Working Group, the Personal Injuries Commission, the Oireachtas Finance Committee and elsewhere that the cost of claims drives the cost of premiums2. This analysis has been verified by the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database3. The reforms implemented by Government and the Judiciary mean that the claims costs and future risk associated with every motor and liability policy in Ireland have reduced sharply since early 2021. This is being reflected in the competitive motor insurance market, but liability insurance premiums are actually going upwards, tracking +16% in our rolling renewals research.”

Eoin McCambridge, Director of the Alliance said “Insurers are taking liability policyholders and the Government for a ride and damaging the credibility of the Government’s insurance reform programme. From a policyholder perspective, it appears that all the gains being delivered are being used to improve underwriter profitability and bankroll the takeover frenzy in the insurance broker sector. Government must hold insurers to account to ensure that the gains from the Judicial Guidelines and other reforms are passed on immediately and in full. While Government frequently tells us that they cannot dictate premium prices, Government has enormous soft power over the insurance sector, a sector which needs our Government to allow it to function profitably. Additionally, the Department of Finance established an Insurance Competition Office in 2020 but has not yet succeeded in attracting additional underwriting capacity into the market. This office must begin yielding results soon as additional competition is the best way of keeping insurers honest.”

In conclusion Peter Boland said “The challenges of staying open for Irish SMEs, voluntary and community groups, charities and sports and cultural organisations have never been greater in our nation’s recent history. Of all these challenges, the insurance crisis is the one closest to being solved by Government. Insurers must act in good faith on the progress already made.”

ENDS

NOTES:

1 “The total number of claims in the country has been falling dramatically since peaking in 2016; the 2022 total will be the lowest in over 15 years”

The total number of claims received by PIAB in the first half of 2022 was 8,989, down from 13,569 in the first half of 2021. PIAB forecasts that the total number of 2022 claims will be lower than for 2021.

Total year figures since 2007 are as follows:

CLAIMS RECEIVED BY PIAB
202121,410-18%
202026,009-16%
201931,072-7%
201833,3711%
201733,114-3%
201634,0561%
201533,5616%
201431,5761%
201331,3116%
201229,6037%
201127,6693%
201026,9644%
200925,9195%
200824,7226%
200723,323

2 “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 Group REPORT ON THE COST OF MOTOR INSURANCE

 Insurance Ireland representatives on the PIC have repeatedly stated that, as award levels and associated costs account for the bulk of the cost of insurance, if claims costs come down and are maintained at a consistent and predictable level then premiums will also reduce accordingly. P4, Second and Final Report of the Personal Injuries Commission, July 2018
3 “This analysis has been verified by the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database Private Motor Insurance Reports”
See Alliance for Insurance Reform Fact Sheet No. 2 “Who Gets What?” graphic using NCID data.

For further information contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

WEDNESDAY 22nd JUNE 2022

Alliance welcomes publication of the 2nd NCID Liability Insurance Report

Says insurers cannot continue to delay premium reductions

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the publication by the Central Bank of the 2nd NCID Employers’ Liability, Public Liability, and Commercial Property Insurance Report.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “The data the NCID publishes is pivotal to analysis of the Irish insurance market. Having said that, there is currently an 18-month lag in the liability data. So, while the data trends in this report on 2020 are consistent with the trends in the 2019 report, with the exception of a short-term Covid-19 related impact on property insurance due to business interruption claims, of more significance are the developments since 2020, in particular the implementation of the Judicial Guidelines in April 2021, the recent High Court decisions supporting those Guidelines, combined with the sharp downward trend in total personal injury claims in recent years.

Insurers cannot continue to delay delivering reduced premiums. Otherwise, all the benefits of the reforms currently being processed, and the recent High Court decisions, flow directly into their back pockets as profit. We expect substantial reductions to the cost of liability cover and further, proportionate reductions to motor insurance premiums immediately.

ENDS

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

02/06/2022

Alliance welcomes High Court judgement on Judicial Guidelines

Says insurers must now deliver their part of the bargain

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed today’s High Court judgement* dismissing the lead challenge to the Judicial Guidelines on all grounds.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said ”We welcome the decision in this case. It is now up to lawyers, plaintiffs, insurers and the judiciary to respect the Judicial Guidelines and for insurers to deliver their part of the bargain by passing on the benefits of this critical reform in substantial reductions to the cost of liability cover and further, proportionate reductions to motor insurance costs. “

ENDS

NOTES:

REF: * THE HIGH COURT. JUDICIAL REVIEW [2021 No. 641 JR] BETWEEN BRIDGET DELANEY AND THE PERSONAL INJURIES ASSESSMENT BOARD, THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL, IRELAND AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

For further information contact:  contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

21/04/2022

On first anniversary of Judicial Guidelines, insurance costs continue to climb

42% of organisations say insurance premiums threatening their future 

As delays dog reforms, Alliance says Government can fix this but only if they move fast

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has marked the first anniversary of the implementation of the Judicial Guidelines for personal injury awards by publishing the results of a major new survey showing that:

  • 42% of organisations say that insurance premiums are threatening their future 
  • 90% say Government is not doing enough to address the issue of insurance costs

In addition, an ongoing survey of insurance premium renewals confirms that liability premiums continue to increase by 16%.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “Personal injury damages are by far the biggest component of the cost of insurance and the Judicial Guidelines implemented on 24th April 2021 introduced significant reductions in the level of damages for minor injuries. So it is worth reflecting on the impact of those reductions one year on.

“While they are having an impact on motor premiums, they are clearly not having an impact on the liability premiums paid by businesses, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and charities. Our ongoing research shows liability insurance renewals trending at +16% and the research we carried out over the last 3 weeks shows that 73% of organisations have also had additional excesses or exclusions imposed on their policies since 2019. Insurers are simply not passing on the benefits of recent reforms to liability insurance policyholders. Equally, other reforms that would impact on liability premiums are not happening fast enough.”

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and Director of the Alliance said “As a result of the continuing spiral in liability premiums, 90% in our survey say that Government is not doing enough to address the issue of insurance costs. To restore policyholder faith in the process, Government must do everything in their power to make sure incumbent insurers pass on the benefits of reforms. They must move quicker on getting additional competition into the market. They must speed up promised reforms. In particular, they must now deliver very quickly on the delayed rebalancing of the duty of care and the delayed reform of PIAB.  Ultimately they must get liability insurance premiums down to affordable levels with reforms that keep them that way.”

In terms of the key reforms required to address insurance costs, the following is an update:

  • The implementation of the Judicial Guidelines on 24th April 2021 has seen the value of assessments by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board tumble by 42% compared to those using the old Book of Quantum. However, the acceptance rate of these assessments has reduced from 50% to 37% as more claimants move to litigation. So the attitude of insurers who settle the vast majority of litigated liability claims before they get to court, and the approach of the judiciary once such claims finally get to court, will be extremely influential on the success or otherwise of the Guidelines. We do not have any data on settlements via either of these channels and are unlikely to have any until the publication of the Central Bank’s next NCID Private Motor Insurance Report in October.

Additionally, the Judicial Guidelines have been hit by multiple constitutional challenges as lawyers attempt to derail them and we await the judgement on the first lead challenge from the High Court, possibly in June.

  • Rebalancing duty of care obligations, which often places an unfair, absolute responsibility on occupiers while exempting claimants of any responsibility for their own safety, was committed to in the Cabinet Sub-Group on Insurance Reform Action Plan of December 2020. A deadline of June 2021 was put in place for “proposals to Government to implement any changes deemed necessary”. However, these proposals have still not been submitted to Government.
  • Legislation to reform PIAB is moving slowly through pre-legislative scrutiny. While the Alliance welcomes much of the content of the draft legislation, an “enhanced role” for PIAB was scheduled for June 2021 by the Cabinet Sub-Group on Insurance Reform so this initiative is now well behind schedule.
  • An office within Government to encourage greater competition in the insurance market was established in December 2020 but has still not announced any additional market entries.

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Of all the major challenges facing Ireland right now, insurance is the one that Government can fix quickest. But reforms are not moving fast enough, and policyholders cannot wait much longer for them to be put in place. Government has a golden opportunity to sort out the cost of insurance now and forever, but only if they get reforms done now, before the opportunity is lost.”

ENDS

NOTE:

The new survey was carried out among Alliance for Insurance Reform members between 5th and 20th April 2022.

There were 954 respondents.

Insurance in the context of this survey refers primarily to Public and Employer Liability insurance.

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PRESS RELEASE

29/03/2022

Alliance welcomes publication of reform timelines in Justice Plan 2022

Urges Minister for Justice to avoid reform slippage

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the publication of the Department of Justice’s Justice Plan 2022 including timelines for a number of key reforms relevant to the Irish insurance market. In particular, the Plan undertakes to:

  • Publish amendment to the Occupiers’ Liability Act in regard to the actions required of an occupier to meet the common duty of care, and in relation to the voluntary assumption of risk by visitors”
  • “Publish, subject to legal assessment, economic research on models to reduce legal costs”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “We note that while the Action regarding duty of care in the Report itself is not as detailed as we might have hoped for, the accompanying press release states that the Minister for Justice will “Continue to tackle the cost of insurance by bringing forward new legislation on the duty of care as part of the Civil Law Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, due to be published in the coming weeks.” We welcome the timeline suggested in this statement and urge the Minister to ensure the enactment of the legislation does not slip beyond 2022.

“Additionally, we note a potential 6-month delay between the completion of economic research on models to reduce legal costs and the publication of that research. Again, we urge the Minister to ensure it is published this year.

“Finally, we welcome mentions of mediation and the fraud database in the Plan and await the outcomes of this work.

“Insurance premiums for SMEs, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and charities continue to spiral, with many organisations now struggling to get cover at all. Our ongoing policyholder survey measures the increase in average liability renewals at +16%, on top of unsustainable increases in previous years. So the work of the Minister and Department of Justice on key reforms is critical in delivering affordable insurance premiums as a matter of urgency.”

ENDS

For further information contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE
02/03/2022

Alliance welcomes extension of Cabinet Insurance Reform group into 2022 as premiums continue to spiral

Asks Tánaiste to publish timelines for outstanding key reforms

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the decision by the Tánaiste to extend the work of the Cabinet Sub Group on Insurance Reform into 2022, announced on the publication of the second implementation report of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “Insurance premiums for SMEs, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and charities continue to spiral, with many organisations now struggling to get cover at all. Our ongoing policyholder survey measures the increase in average liability renewals at +16%, on top of unsustainable increases in previous years. In the meantime, key reforms have not been completed so it is critical that the Cabinet Sub-Group keep working and see this issue through by delivering affordable insurance premiums.

“However, we have a serious concern that the key outstanding reforms, on rebalancing the duty of care, reforming the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and resolving the national claims database, all of which are well behind schedule,  do not have revised, specific timelines attached to them. If there are no timelines, there is no accountability, so we would ask the Tánaiste, in his role as Chair of the Cabinet Sub Group on Insurance Reform, to update the Implementation Report with specific timelines on these key reforms.

“Further, while the Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market is heralded as a ‘new departure’, it is in operation since December 2020 and has not delivered meaningful additional competition. Incumbent insurers have not delivered reductions on the back of the significant reforms implemented so far and it is up to Government to ensure more competition is brought into the Irish insurance market now and that no sector is left behind, unable to get cover.”

ENDS

For further information contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

09/02/2022

Alliance welcomes progress in PIAB reform legislation

Highlights risks and missed opportunities in draft legislation

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has given a guarded welcome to draft legislation published today by the Department of Enterprise to reform the Personal Injuries Assessment Board but highlighted risks and missed opportunities and urged the Government to continue the PIAB reform process into the future.

Key elements of the draft legislation include:

  • The extension of PIAB responsibilities to cover assessment of psychological injuries, more complex injuries and those taking longer to resolve themselves
  • The addition of mediation to the PIAB process
  • A new fraud detection role
  • Extensive new data collection responsibilities

Key elements missing from the draft legislation include:

  • The development of PIAB into a body empowered with adjudicating on claims, with no need to go to litigation except in limited circumstances
  • The establishment of an independent national claims database for use in encouraging competition and preventing fraud.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “PIAB is essential as a means of processing personal injury claims quickly and cheaply to the benefit of plaintiffs and defendants alike. While we will always welcome legislation that develops and enhances the role of PIAB, the draft legislation published today only goes part of the way, come with some risks and misses out on two great opportunities.”

The extension of PIAB responsibilities to cover assessment of psychological injuries, more complex injuries and those taking longer to resolve themselves is most welcome. Likewise, the new fraud detection role and broadened data generation responsibilities.

However, the introduction of mediation must not be allowed to create additional delays or add costs to the PIAB process.“

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and Director of the Alliance said “It is disappointing that today’s proposed legislation does not allow PIAB to adjudicate on claims. This is a missed opportunity. PIAB has vast experience with regard to personal injuries, accumulated over 17 years of processing virtually every claim in the country. Indeed, they now process and assess way more claims than the Judiciary, as very few cases ever get into a courtroom. But far too many of the claims they process move on to needless litigation. And as has been illustrated time and time again now by the Central Bank’s NCID, the only beneficiaries of litigation in personal injury claims are solicitors and barristers, with the acquiescence of insurers. So it makes absolute sense for society that the vast majority of claims be settled at PIAB and while today’s draft legislation will bring us some of the way, it must be followed by ongoing reviews, to be allowed for in the final legislation, ultimately bringing us to a situation where PIAB can adjudicate on most claims. The Government cannot tick the box and move on – reform of PIAB must be an ongoing process.”

Peter Boland said “A claims database available to all insurers and other legitimately interested parties is essential to allow them to protect policyholders from fraudulent claims and to ensure fair competition. However, InsuranceLink, the only such database in Ireland, is owned and controlled by insurer body Insurance Ireland for the benefit of its members. The European Commission has made a preliminary finding that Insurance Ireland delayed or denied access to InsuranceLink to non-member insurers, placing them at a competitive disadvantage. We again urge Government to take the database into State control this year, ideally through PIAB. “

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “While these reforms were clearly drafted in the public interest, they will be trenchantly resisted by elements of the legal profession, determined to resist what will be seen as a threat to their revenue streams. PIAB has been subject to such resistance, through lobbying and legal challenges, since it was established in 2004; and so have the new guidelines on personal injury awards implemented last year by the Judicial Council.  Government must see that resistance for what it is and act in the interest of society as a whole.”

ENDS

For further details or any queries, contact: contact@insurancereform.ie 

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PRESS RELEASE

 07/02/2022

Alliance for Insurance Reform welcomes its latest member

National Community Care Network cites unaffordable insurance and exclusion clauses as key issues

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed its latest member, the National Community Care Network (NCCN).

NCCN represents and supports home care providers in the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors. NCCN is funded predominantly by the HSE. It has 20 members whose primary role is the delivery of quality home care to older persons in the community, with some members also operating day centres and meals on wheels services. NCCN members employ approximately 3,000 trained carers and deliver some 2,500,000 care hours to 7,000 clients across the country.

Fiacre Hensey, CEO of the National Community Care Network said “While securing competitively priced insurance had already become an issue for the home care sector pre-Covid, the introduction of exclusion clauses specifically for Covid cover has threatened the survival of home care providers. Government needs to act to prevent the collapse of this critical social service. By joining the Alliance for Insurance Reform, NCCN hopes to add strength to the campaign to effect a major review and overhaul of insurance in Ireland.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “We warmly welcome the NCCN to our Alliance, but it is frustrating that an organisation focused on providing such essential services in the community should feel the need to join our campaign. Insurance should not be on their agenda. We call on the Government to urgently accelerate the pace of insurance reform so that NCCN members can focus on doing what they were established to do. 

 In particular, we ask that Government prioritise the following real reforms:

  1. Seek additional underwriting capacity for the Irish market, including the voluntary sector, to improve competition and insure sectors that currently cannot get cover.
  2. Review and re-balance the “common duty of care” to require occupiers to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate.
  3. Reform and strengthen PIAB          
  4. Insist on insurers delivering immediate reductions for delivered and planned reform.”

The Alliance now brings together 47 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 700,000 employees, 622,000 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.

ENDS

For further details or any queries, contact:  contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

25/01/2022

Insurance policyholders react with dismay as reforms sidelined

“Government is in danger of turning an open goal into an own goal”

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has reacted with dismay to the publication of the Government’s Spring 2022 legislative programme without any reference to promised key legislation on insurance reform.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “The Governments Sub Group on Insurance Reform, chaired by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, promised the general scheme of a Bill on duty of care by September 2021″1. We have still not seen that Bill and today’s announcement means that we are unlikely to see any meaningful progress on this critical issue during 2022.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Too often, ‘occupiers’ (homeowners, SMEs, charities, sports organisations, event organisers) are now regularly assumed to have an absolute duty of care when it comes to ‘visitors’ (customers, clients and others), while the concept of personal responsibility has been significantly diminished. For the sake of every household and organisation in the country, the duty of care must be urgently rebalanced in a manner that is fair, reasonable, practical, and proportionate and in the public interest.” 2

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The Government acknowledged the seriousness of the insurance crisis in establishing the Cabinet Sub-Group for Insurance Reform in 2020, chaired by the Tánaiste and including many of the key Ministers and Ministers of State involved in this issue. After some initial progress on reforms such as the Judicial Guidelines, today’s announcement confirms our fear that the Sub-Group is regressing to a box-ticking exercise, recently claiming that ‘34 actions out of 66 have been completed’ when what is needed is an intense focus on meaningful reforms like rebalancing the duty of care.“

Peter Boland said “As well as the missed opportunity on duty of care, the Government has long-fingered the promised reform of PIAB onto the “All other Legislation” list, which means further delays on legislation originally promised for July 20213. So, the only piece of legislation regarding general insurance in the Spring 2022 programme is the Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which is essentially an administrative Bill.

“The need for urgent insurance reform has been universally acknowledged for 6 years now and the key reforms have long been identified. By missing key timelines, the Government is in danger of turning an open goal into an own goal. We call on the Department of Justice and the Tánaiste in his role as Chair of the Cabinet Sub Group on Insurance Reform to remove whatever barriers are delaying the duty of care legislation and fast track it, so it is implemented as quickly as possible.”

Tracy Sheridan said “We cannot recover from Covid-19 as an economy or a society unless insurance is sorted. Government must move aggressively to resolve it, rebalancing the duty of care and bringing much greater underwriting capacity into the market to ensure that insurance costs are reduced to affordable levels and kept that way.”

ENDS

NOTES:

  1. Page 12, Government Action Plan for Insurance Reform Implementation Report, July 2021 https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c1619-action-plan-for-insurance-reform-implementation-report-july-2021/
  2. For more on the issue of rebalancing the Duty of Care, check out our Blog at https://insurancereform.ie/2020/02/08/what-is-the-duty-of-care-any-why-does-it-need-to-be-rebalanced
  3. Pages 11/12, Government Action Plan for Insurance Reform Implementation Report, July 2021 https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/c1619-action-plan-for-insurance-reform-implementation-report-july-2021/

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PRESS RELEASE

30/12/2021

Alliance publishes end of year review of Government insurance reform efforts

“If this was a school report for the Government, it would be a disappointing one”

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has published a review of the Government’s progress on insurance reform in 2021 and it does not make for great reading.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, said “Unfortunately, if this was a school report for the Government, it would be a disappointing one.”

“The Government acknowledged the seriousness of the insurance crisis in establishing the Cabinet Sub-Group for Insurance Reform last year, chaired by the Tánaiste and including many of the key Ministers and Ministers of State involved in this issue. After some initial progress on issues such as the Judicial Guidelines, we are concerned that the Sub-Group may be regressing to a box-ticking exercise, recently claiming that ‘34 actions out of 66 have been completed’ when what is needed is an intense focus on meaningful reforms.“

The reforms identified as meaningful by the Alliance include:

DUTY OF CARE:

For the sake of every household or organisation that has visitors, customers, participants or recreational users, the duty of care must be urgently rebalanced in a manner that is fair, reasonable, practical, and proportionate and in the public interest.

The Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform published its most recent Implementation Report in July 2021. In it, the Sub-Group reported that “The Department of Justice is working on a General Scheme to give effect to the proposals (on duty of care) and expects to bring these to Government in September 2021 for approval.” However, this General Scheme has not yet been published and no revised timeline for its publication has been given, other than a worrying reassurance that proposals are “at an advanced stage”. This draft legislation must be published immediately.

REFORM OF PIAB:

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is a sound concept rooted in the common good, intended to deliver compensation to injured parties without excessive legal costs. But it has been fundamentally undermined by numerous and ongoing challenges by the legal profession, intent on protecting a valuable income stream.  As such, we welcomed the public consultation on reforming and enhancing PIAB carried out in April of this year by the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment. We believe that nothing short of radical reform is necessary to give PIAB the meaningful status it deserves. The Cabinet Sub-Group on Insurance Reform, in its July Implementation Report, stated that it was intended to publish a General Scheme of a Bill to reform PIAB in July. But we have still not seen that General Scheme. This draft legislation must be published immediately.

LEGAL FEES:

The Government appears to be moving on the eye-watering cost of legal fees, which act as a brake on much more than the fair resolution of personal injury claims in Ireland. The Department of Justice has initiated an economic and legal review of the options available to cap fees. This initiative cannot be allowed to falter on the back of the intense opposition we expect from the legal industry, intent on protecting its own vested interests.

CLAIMS DATABASE:

A claims database available to all insurers is essential to allow them to protect policyholders from fraudulent claims and to ensure fair competition. However, InsuranceLink, the only such database in Ireland, is owned and controlled by Insurance Ireland, the insurance industry representative body, for the benefit of its members. The European Commission has made a preliminary finding that Insurance Ireland delayed or denied access to InsuranceLink to non-member insurers, placing them at a competitive disadvantage.

We have urged Government to take the database into State control, ideally through PIAB, but after 4 years of discussions, we have still not seen any proposals from Government and every time they are challenged on the issue, they cite vague data protection concerns. This is simply not good enough and policyholders deserve a more positive response in 2022.

JUDICIAL GUIDELINES:

The Judicial Guidelines implemented on the 24th of April would be expected to deliver significant reductions in premiums. However, there is a real risk that any gains will be derailed by a host of court challenges to the guidelines by the legal industry; and undermined by incumbent insurers settling above the new guidelines as a financial expedient. The legal challenges are up for mention in the High Court on the 19th of January and we would expect a robust response from the State to ensure a quick and positive resolution. Equally, we expect the Department of Finance to apply intense pressure on insurers to hold firm on the new guidelines.

ADDITIONAL COMPETITION:

It is clear that additional underwriting capacity and competition are urgently needed in the Liability insurance market and while the Government’s Cabinet Sub-Group on Insurance Reform has acknowledged this, by establishing the Office for Insurance Competition in 2020, the success of this office’s work is limited so far, with nearly 40 sectors and sub-sectors unable to get affordable cover or down to their last underwriter at this stage. The Office for Insurance Competition will have to step up several gears in 2022.

LOWER INSURANCE COSTS:

The process of reacting to the reforms implemented so far (most notably the Judicial Guidelines, the Garda Insurance Fraud Coordination Office and the Perjury Act), has already begun in the motor insurance sector, where there is meaningful competition. Respondents to our ongoing policyholder survey are reporting an average 10% reduction in motor premiums on renewals since the 24th of April. In the Liability sector however, where there is markedly less competition, policyholders are experiencing average increases of 16%.  Government must apply intense pressure on the incumbents to deliver reductions while we wait for additional competition to enter the market.

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Given the money being made from the insurance crisis, it will not be solved by vested interests. Government must move aggressively to resolve it, because we cannot recover from Covid-19 as an economy or a society unless insurance is sorted.”

ENDS

For further details or any queries, contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

16/12/2021

Alliance welcomes its latest member

Disability Federation says “the increasing cost of insurance is now taking from the provision of services”

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed its latest member, the Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI.

The DFI is the national support organisation for voluntary disability groups in Ireland. The DFI is funded through HSE and member direct funding and has over 100 members who range from large national organisations to local, community-based charities. Voluntary disability organisations provide the majority of disability services within Ireland today including residential, home care, respite, therapeutic, personal assistance support services and more.

John Dolan, CEO the DFI said “Rising insurance renewal premiums are a concern to organisations of voluntary disability services because they have to take money from delivering services to pay increasing insurance cost”.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “We warmly welcome the DFI to our Alliance, but it is frustrating that an organisation so focused on providing such essential services should feel the need to join our campaign. Insurance should not be on their agenda. We call on the Government to urgently accelerate the pace of insurance reform so that DFI members can focus on doing what they were established to do.

”In particular, we ask that Government prioritise the following real reforms:

  1. Seek additional underwriting capacity for the Irish market, including the voluntary sector, to improve competition and insure sectors that currently cannot get cover.
  2. Review and re-balance the “common duty of care” to require occupiers to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical, and proportionate.
  3. Reform and strengthen Personal Injuries Assessment Board, PIAB
  4. Insist on insurers delivering immediate reductions for delivered and planned reform.

The Alliance now brings together 46 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 700,000 employees, 599,000 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.

ENDS

For further information of clarification, contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

09/12/2021

Alliance calls out Government on duty of care reform

Fears we “have regressed to a box-ticking exercise”

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has called on Government to deliver on its promise to rebalance the duty of care in light of an alarming loss of momentum on the issue in recent months.

The Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform published its most recent Implementation Report in July 2021. In it, they reported that “The Department of Justice is working on a General Scheme to give effect to the proposals (on duty of care) and expects to bring these to Government in September 2021 for approval.” However, this General Scheme has not as yet been published and no revised timeline for its publication has been given.

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “The duty of care applicable to every premises and event in the country has been a weight around the neck of voluntary and community groups, charities, sports and cultural organisations and businesses for far too long. Too often, organisations are found liable for accidents they had no hand, act or part in, because the courts and insurers impose an absolute duty of care on them, ignoring the role played by the injured party themselves. The concept of personal responsibility has been significantly diminished by the Courts in recent years. The duty of care must be rebalanced in a way that is fair, reasonable, practical, and proportionate and in the public interest.”

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The Government acknowledged the seriousness of the insurance crisis in establishing the Cabinet Sub Group for Insurance Reform in September 2020, chaired by the Tanaiste and including many of the key Ministers and Ministers of State involved in this issue. After some initial progress on issues such as the Judicial Guidelines, the Sub Group appears to have regressed to a box-ticking exercise, claiming recently that “34 actions out of 66 have been completed” when what is needed is an intense focus on key reforms such as the duty of care. If we continue to lose momentum on this issue, I am afraid the war against unsustainable insurance costs will be lost.”

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “We call on Minister McEntee to fast-track the delayed General Scheme on rebalancing the duty of care as a matter of urgency. Policyholders cannot wait any longer for meaningful reform of this key issue.”

ENDS

For further information of clarification, contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

16/11/2021

Central Bank motor insurance analysis shows business as usual for lawyers, insurers and brokers during pandemic

Alliance calls on Government to accelerate reforms in face of crisis

  • Claims cost per policy down 29% over last 12 years but premiums up 26%
  • Insurers gave Covid-related rebates of just 3% as the economy and society shut down in 2020
  • Insurers setting 86% of motor claims directly in value terms – only 10% settled by PIAB, 4% by Court
  • Time to reform PIAB and ‘crazy’ personal injury litigation
  • Brokers’ commissions high and rising

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has called on Government to accelerate the reform of PIAB, rebalance the duty of care and encourage competition in the insurance market in the light of startling new data from the Central Bank’s third National Claims Information Database on Private Motor Insurance.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “This report illustrates just how much money is being made by underwriters, brokers and lawyers at the expense of Irish charities, community & voluntary groups, sport and cultural organisations and SMEs struggling to make ends meet.

“While this report repeats some of the analysis of the previous two reports, it is far more comprehensive, covering as it does the period from 2009 to 2020. This gives us deeper insights and some startling data to explain the crisis policyholders find themselves in.

“Brand new analysis in this report shows that the average cost of personal injury claims rose 73% between 2009 and 2020 and this must be addressed through the new Judicial Guidelines. But the reality is that due to a sharp fall in the number of all motor insurance claims in the same period (-59%) , overall claims costs per policy dropped dramatically (-29%). And yet amazingly, the average earned premium increased by 26% in the same period.

“More recently, the collapse in economic and social activity in 2020 was met with a derisory average rebate of 3% with many insurers giving no rebate at all.”

“It is clear that the incumbent insurers have responded to developments in recent years in ways that suit themselves, not their customers.”

From a reform perspective, insurers are settling 86% of motor claims (in value terms) directly. In value terms, only 10% of motor claims are now settled by PIAB, only 4% by the Courts. So the importance of insurers holding firm on the private settlements they make under the new Judicial Guidelines cannot be overstated. Otherwise the entire reform of personal injury guidelines will be fatally undermined before any such claims get to Court.”

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “We have been well aware for some time now that for the 94% of claimants who claim for more minor injuries it is quicker and cheaper to settle via PIAB while achieving the same level of compensation. And yet the vast majority of these claims are going on to lengthy litigation. The only beneficiaries of this crazy process are lawyers. Society cannot afford to continue paying their legal bills and PIAB must be dramatically reformed in order to allow it to process far more cases.”

Peter Boland said “Equally, the aggregated data from previous NCID reports suggested that broker commissions had climbed dramatically in recent years, but what the more granulated data in this report makes clear is that broker commissions have been high all along, averaging 15% of premiums over the period of the analysis and climbing to 17% last year”.

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Given the money being made, it is clear that the insurance crisis will not be solved by vested interests. Government must move aggressively to resolve it, rebalancing the duty of care and bringing much greater underwriting capacity into the market to ensure that insurance costs are reduced to affordable levels and kept that way, because we cannot recover from Covid-19 as an economy or a society unless insurance is sorted.”

ENDS

NOTES:

Need references for any of the data cited or got any other queries?  Please contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

19/10/2021

New survey shows insurance premiums continue to spiral even as costs plummet

Alliance calls on Government to increase competition and accelerate reforms in face of crisis

  • Average recent insurance renewal up 15%
  • Some sectors being hit very hard, despite recent reforms
  • Urgent need for more competition, faster reform

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has today published the results of an ongoing survey that shows that insurance premiums continue to rise despite trends in claims costs and recent reforms.

The Alliance has been running the survey since the implementation of new Judicial Guidelines for personal injury awards on 24th April 2021. Since then, 0ver 450 businesses and voluntary and community groups have responded1 and they tell us that:

  • Their premiums have increased by 15% on average on renewal
  • Homecare businesses are being hit by average increases on renewal of +122%
  • Nursing homes are seeing average increases on renewal of +35%
  • Hospitality premiums are up another 9% despite a significant drop in the level of activity in the sector
  • In a follow-on survey, member organisation The Wheel found that 45% of respondent charities, voluntary and community organisations have seen increases of over 10% in their liability insurance
  • Respondents reported an average reduction in private motor insurance renewals of -10%, consistent with CSO data for the same period

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The total number of liability-related personal injury claims has reduced by 47% over the 11 years between 2009 and 20192 and a further 16% last year3. PIAB has just announced4 a 40% reduction in average personal injury awards. The Perjury Act has been commenced. The Garda Insurance Fraud Coordination Office has been opened. Economic and social activity has been slashed for the last 19 months.  And to further reduce future risk, insurers are excluding Covid-19 from many policies on renewal. The risk associated with each and every insurance premium has plummeted in the last year and a half.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres and director of the Alliance said, “Everything is being done to facilitate affordable insurance. And yet we still see premiums increasing. Before the pandemic, premiums were already unsustainably high for so many sectors of Irish society. Now, if the economy and society as a whole are going to recover from the pandemic, premiums must come down significantly for SMEs, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and charities as a matter of urgency.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said, “It is clear that the incumbent insurers cannot be relied upon to pass on savings. Government must act now to improve competition by getting additional underwriters into the market as a matter of extreme urgency. They must ensure that insurers hold firm on the new Judicial Guidelines rather than settling at higher rates to clear claims. And they must rebalance the duty of care in a way that is fair, reasonable, practical, proportionate and in the public interest; reform PIAB in a meaningful way; and get a publicly-owned fraud database established. Ultimately, they must ensure that all the savings being made are passed on to consumers so that Ireland gets affordable insurance right now and in the long term.”

NOTES:

1 Total respondents to date are 380 to the Alliance survey and 74 to The Wheel survey. Consisting mainly of SMEs, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and charities.

2 NCID Employers’ Liability, Public Liability and Commercial Property Insurance Report 1, Table 9, Page 28

3 Personal Injuries Claims numbers down sharply

4 PIAB Report shows personal injuries award values have fallen sharply following implementation of new Judicial Council Guidelines

For further information contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

15/10/2021

ALLIANCE WELCOMES PIAB DATA SHOWING SHARP FALL IN AWARDS

ASKS “WHY AREN’T INSURANCE PREMIUMS FALLING”?

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the report from PIAB which shows personal injuries award values have fallen sharply following implementation of new Judicial Council Guidelines.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “We welcome this report and the trend in general damages awards reflected in it. But that trend and the effort that went into generating it will be of no value unless they lead to substantial reductions in insurance premiums. While we are seeing some downward movement in motor insurance premiums, the experience of SMEs, voluntary & community groups, sports and cultural organisations and charities is that renewals are actually increasing right now. Why aren’t they falling?

“The insurance industry cannot have its cake and eat it. They identified the cost of claims as the key driver of insurance costs and this has been addressed by Government and the Judiciary. So the risk associated with every policy has reduced significantly and this must be reflected in premiums. If the savings in PIAB settlements do not go into reductions in unaffordable premiums, they go directly into insurers’ profits.”

The Alliance has also called for full transparency from the insurance industry. Mr Boland said “PIAB and the Courts account for a small proportion of settlements and it is vital that insurers, who finalise the vast majority of them, provide data this year to confirm whether or not they are holding firm on the new judicial guidelines.”

Finally, Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and Director of the Alliance said “The data in this report makes it clear that most personal injury claims have no business in the High Court. The judiciary and insurers must call time on the tactic of pursuing small claims in the High Court in order to extort a higher settlement and bigger legal fees from defendants who live in fear of the cost of a protracted High Court case taken by an impecunious plaintiff, with no chance of recovering costs if they win. This tactic is particularly reprehensible at a time when the High Court is under considerable pressure to process its case load.”

ENDS

For further information contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

 30/08/2021

Alliance welcomes establishment of Garda insurance fraud office

Calls on insurers to step up anti-fraud capacity

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has warmly welcomed the establishment of an Insurance Fraud Coordination Office (IFCO) under the control of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) to help combat fraudulent and exaggerated insurance claims.

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The Alliance has been campaigning for the establishment of a Garda insurance fraud unit from Day One and we warmly welcome today’s news. It marks a major step in the battle against insurance fraud, formalising as it does a structured and streamlined approach by the Gardaí. It will act as a significant deterrent to anyone considering making a fictitious or exaggerated claim.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “The establishment of IFCO is the first step in the eradication of the scourge of insurance fraud. There are two more significant steps required to make sure this initiative works.

“Firstly, insurers must take fraud seriously, by stepping up their anti-fraud capacity through ‘The recruitment of suitably trained personnel and the development of various technological means of combating fraud’ as recommended by the Personal Injuries Commission chaired by Justice Nicholas Kearns. The days of settling fraudulent claims as an expedient and then passing the cost of this approach on to society must end.

“Secondly, we call on the Garda Commissioner to urgently establish Divisional structures to counter fraud. This initiative was announced by An Garda Síochána in 2019 but nothing has happened on it since.”

ENDS

For more, contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

14/07/2021

Central Bank analysis shows society being held to ransom by lawyers and insurers

Alliance calls on Government to accelerate reforms in face of crisis fuelled by greed

  • Lawyers gouge clients as litigated claims for minor injuries cost up to 25 times more in legal fees, takes 2.7 years longer to settle and yield less for claimants than PIAB awards
  • Lawyers making an average of €22,792 in fees on employer liability claims for minor injuries
  • Insurers losses due to poor investment performance, increased broker commissions, increased reinsurance costs and increased reserves – not claims costs
  • Claims costs have been dropping since 2015, at record low in 2019

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has reacted with anger to new data that shines a light on what is going on in the liability insurance market in Ireland, as the first National Claims Information Database (NCID) liability insurance report is published by the Central Bank.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “This report lays bare the scale of the greed that has driven the current insurance crisis, enriching underwriters, brokers and lawyers at the expense of Irish charities, community & voluntary groups, sport and cultural organisations and SMEs struggling to make ends meet.

“The sheer scale of the fees being made by lawyers is reflected in these figures, as it was in the NCID’s motor insurance reports. But what is extraordinary here is that lawyers’ pursuit of fees is actually costing their clients when minor injury public liability (PL) or employer liability (EL) claims are taken to litigation. Claims for minor injuries cost up to 25 times more in legal fees than settlements via PIAB, take 2.7 years longer to settle and yield less for the claimant than PIAB awards.

“For example, on public liability claims for minor injuries (<€150,000) between 2015 and 2019, the average PIAB assessment was €26,760. Whereas an average minor injury award via litigation was €25,088, 6% less.  On employer’s liability claims, lawyers creamed off average fees of €22,792 in fees, 25 times more than the legal fees via the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, where a higher average award for the plaintiff cost only €902 to deliver. It is clear that personal injury litigation is the mother lode of many Irish solicitors’ income, at the expense of plaintiffs, policyholders and society.

“Meanwhile insurers have been insisting for years now that claims drive insurance costs but what is clear from the 11 years of data produced in this report is that it has been costs within the control of insurers that have driven their losses. Dramatically reduced investment income, increased commission levels paid to brokers and big increases in reinsurance costs and reserves for future settlements have driven recent losses. Meanwhile insurers’ loss ratio (ultimate claims costs to earned premiums) has dropped dramatically since 2015, the year liability premiums started to rocket. The loss ratio was at a record low of 56% in 2019.

“Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The crisis policyholders have been going through is fuelled by greed. This report clearly illustrates the extent to which Irish society is being held to ransom by lawyers and insurers. Government must now accelerate their reform programme, moving swiftly to get more competition into the Irish insurance market as the incumbents are not serving Ireland well. Equally, the cost of litigation must be addressed. As a matter of extreme urgency, the promised reform of PIAB must now be fast-tracked. But the scale and impact of legal fees can no longer be swept under the carpet. Government must act quickly and decisively to cap legal fees in the Circuit and High Courts. And finally, the duty of care must be rebalanced so that it ceases to impose an unbearable burden on policyholders.“

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “It is difficult to overstate the importance of this data for Irish charities, voluntary & community groups, sports & cultural organisations and SMEs which have long suffered from unsustainably high insurance costs. This is particularly true of the sectors worst-affected by insurance hikes, which have been identified in the report. It is now up to Government to ensure that insurance costs are reduced to affordable levels and kept that way, because we cannot recover from Covid-19 as an economy or a society unless insurance is sorted.”

ENDS

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PRESS RELEASE

24/06/2021

Alliance urges Government “don’t leave anyone behind”  in insurance reform plans

Whole sectors of society struggling to get insurance cover

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has urged the Government to avoid leaving any sector behind as insurance reforms are implemented.

At a meeting this afternoon with Sean Fleming, the Minister of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for Insurance, the Alliance presented the experience of 21 sectors* that are struggling to get insurance cover or are increasingly vulnerable due to a lack of competition among insurers in their sector.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “We warmly welcome the implementation of the new judicial guidelines on personal injury awards which came into effect in April; and we expect this and other measures in the pipeline to apply significant downward pressure on premiums. But all that reform is of no value if you cannot get cover or there is only one underwriter prepared to offer cover. We have identified 35 sectors1 in this predicament.

Teresa Heeney, ​​​Chief Executive Officer of ​​Early Childhood Ireland, who attended the meeting said “ We believe that the Insurance Competition Office established by Minister of State Fleming can play a pivotal role in encouraging underwriters not currently offering cover in Ireland to do so, given the dramatic changes in the market that are taking place. We have proposed to the Minister that the Office:

  • Research and develop the market data requirements of potential incoming underwriters
  • Address urgent supply issues in areas such as childcare and child-oriented enterprises, hospitality and tourism, leisure and the creative and sports sectors; and the resultant risks associated with having just one underwriter covering strategically important sectors

Lucy Medlycott, Director of ISACS, the Irish Street Artists, Circus and Spectacular Network, who also attended the meeting said “ We also asked the Minister and his team to instruct the Insurance Competition Office to develop an understanding of the detailed market segmentation being used by underwriters to analyse opportunities; and formulate responses as necessary. For example, the entire Irish creative sector would probably make for a viable market for an underwriter. But if that sector is further broken down, then sub-sectors such as community circuses or street artists will probably never present a viable commercial opportunity and their demise would be Ireland’s loss.”

Peter Boland, concluded “The number of sectors represented at this meeting gives an indication of the scale and urgency of the supply issue. The market, if left to its own devices, will respond to ongoing insurance reforms like an oil tanker, not a speedboat. So Government must intervene on behalf of the sectors represented here today as well as others that we have identified. The actions identified by us have been backed up by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission market study of last December and must be implemented with real urgency. ”

ENDS

NOTES:

*In attendance at the meeting were:

  • Bernadette Burke, Chief Executive, Childminding Ireland
  • William Martin, Vice-Chair, Coach Tourism and Transport Council
  • Teresa Heeney, CEO, Early Childhood Ireland
  • Mary O’Connor, CEO, Federation of Irish Sport
  • Justin Green, Historic Houses of Ireland
  • Jamie Farrelly, Policy and Communications Officer, Home and Community Care Ireland
  • Ruth Andrews, CEO, Incoming Tour Operators Association Ireland
  • Brendan Kenny, CEO, Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism
  • Con Quill, CEO, Irish Caravan and Camping Council
  • Michael Magner, Chair, Insurance Committee, Irish Hotels Federation
  • Cyril McGuinness, Irish Road Haulage Association
  • Lucy Medlycott, Director, Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network
  • Don Bird, Irish Showmens Guild
  • Pat Dawson, CEO, Irish Travel Agents Association
  • Tadhg Daly, CEO Nursing Homes Ireland
  • Tommy Gill, CEO, Play Activity & Leisure Ireland
  • Adrian Cummins, CEO, Restaurants Association of Ireland
  • Tara Buckley, Director General, RGDATA
  • Brian Staunton, NGB Support Unit Manager, Sport Ireland
  • Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive, Vintners Federation of Ireland
  • Mel Campbell, Play Services Ireland

1Sectors, sub-sectors and groups of individuals that are struggling to get cover at all right now or are reduced to one underwriter who is effectively in a monopolist’s situation (even if this in inadvertently, because other underwriters have pulled out of the market) include:

  1. Adventure centres that deal with children
  2. Artists, arts workers and arts organisations
  3. Bike hire shops on greenways and elsewhere
  4. Bouncy castle operators
  5. Caravan & Camping Parks
  6. Car rental
  7. Childcare providers
  8. Childminders
  9. Children’s’ play centres
  10. Children’s playgrounds (non-local authority)
  11. Circuses (both community and commercial)
  12. Climbing walls
  13. Coasteering
  14. Drivers of older cars
  15. Equestrian sports
  16. Festivals and events
  17. High ropes (adventure centres)
  18. Home care providers
  19. Ice skating
  20. Incoming tour operators
  21. Independent marts
  22. Karting tracks
  23. Late night venues
  24. Minority sports
  25. Mountain biking
  26. Nursing homes
  27. Outdoor adventure centres
  28. Private scheduled buses
  29. Street artists
  30. Taxis
  31. Trampoline centres
  32. Travel agents
  33. Tyre depots
  34. Vehicle recovery operations
  35. Young drivers

The Alliance for Insurance Reform brings together 41 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.

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PRESS RELEASE

26/04/2021

Alliance welcomes D-Day for insurance premiums

Says insurers must deliver significant reductions immediately

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the implementation of the new judicial guidelines on personal injury payments.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, said “Today, Monday 26th April, is D-Day – the first working day following the implementation of these new guidelines. From today, we expect the price of motor and liability insurance policy renewals to drop significantly. The new guidelines, signed off by the Judicial Council in March, do not deliver the 80% reduction in minor injury damages that is necessary to bring us close to comparable jurisdictions. But at an estimated 50% reduction, it is nonetheless significant.

“Insurance premiums are based on future risk and every accident that happens from today and the majority of claims already in the pipeline will be subject to the new guidelines, so the risk associated with every new motor and liability policy in Ireland will drop significantly and that must be reflected in the price of those policies.”

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “Insurers have consistently argued that the cost of claims drives the cost of insurance. This has been backed up by analysis the Alliance carried out with the Central Bank which shows that 42% of every single motor insurance policy is currently swallowed up by compensation payments*.

“From today, future payments will drop by an estimated 50% and there will be follow-on reductions in legal costs, broker commissions, Motor Insurer’s Bureau costs and reinsurance costs. So insurers must deliver significant reductions immediately to reflect this new reality.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “It is difficult to overstate the importance of today for Irish motorists, charities, voluntary & community groups, sports & cultural organisations and SMEs which have long suffered from unsustainably high insurance costs. It is now up to insurers to deliver on their commitments and for Government to ensure they do so. Government must then follow through with reform of the duty of care and of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board so that insurance costs can be reduced to affordable levels and kept that way.”

ENDS

NOTES:

Department of Justice announcement of implementation here:

https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/b7b52-minister-mcentee-announces-commencement-of-the-personal-injuries-guidelines/

*”42% of every single motor insurance policy is currently swallowed up by compensation payments” – see pie chart in bottom left hand corner of our Infographic here:

https://insurancereform.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/air-infographic-no2-final.pdf

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PRESS RELEASE

09/03/2021

Alliance welcome acceleration in implementation of new personal injury guidelines 

Calls on insurers to pass on reductions immediately and in full

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed confirmation from Government that the new Judicial Personal Injuries Guidelines will take effect in April.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, said “We welcome the sense of urgency in the Cabinet’s approval today of plans by the Minister of Justice to implement the new guidelines. Now it is time for insurers to outline very clearly how they intend to reduce premiums to reflect these developments.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Insurers have repeatedly and consistently 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. This analysis has been verified by the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database Private Motor Insurance Reports. The changes implemented by the Judicial Council and accelerated today by Government mean that the risk associated with every policy will reduce sharply from next month. This must be immediately reflected in renewals for motor and liability insurance cover.”

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and Director of the Alliance said “Government must act robustly if necessary to ensure that the gains from the Judicial Guidelines and today’s Cabinet decision are passed on immediately and in full by insurers. Any delays or half-hearted measures will undermine the credibility of the reform process. Furthermore, if insurers do not deliver on the reasonable expectations of policyholders, Government must legislate to monitor and hold them to account in the way that the UK authorities recently have with insurers there, following reforms.”

In conclusion Peter Boland said “It must be remembered that getting insurance costs down means cutting the general damages paid out for minor, fully recovered injuries to reflect international norms. We have written to An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, in his role as Chair of the Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform, asking Government to take control of the process and cap general damages such that damages for minor injuries are reduced by an average of 80% compared to the previous Book of Quantum guidelines. Equally, the committed–to reform of PIAB and the rebalancing of the duty of care must now be accelerated. But in the meantime, insurers must act in good faith on the progress already made.”

ENDS

NOTES:

“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 Group REPORT ON THE COST OF MOTOR INSURANCE

 Insurance Ireland representatives on the PIC have repeatedly stated that, as award levels and associated costs account for the bulk of the cost of insurance, if claims costs come down and are maintained at a consistent and predictable level then premiums will also reduce accordingly. P4, Second and Final Report of the Personal Injuries Commission, July 2018

“This analysis has been verified by the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database Private Motor Insurance Reports”

See Alliance for Insurance Reform Fact Sheet No. 2 “Who Gets What?” graphic.

“If insurers do not deliver on the reasonable expectations of policyholders, Government must legislate to monitor and hold them to account in the way that the UK authorities recently have.”

“Therefore, at Report stage in the House of Lords, the government committed to bring forward an amendment in the Commons to provide an effective means of reporting on the public commitment made by the insurance sector. The aim of this amendment is to enable insurers to demonstrate that savings have been passed on to consumers and thereby hold insurers to account, in a way that is appropriate given the commercial sensitivities associated with this type of information. In developing this approach, the intent has been to balance the need to:

  • Hold insurers to account in a way that is sufficiently rigorous; and
  • Avoid intervening in an already competitive market or placing disproportionate burdens or insurers or regulators.”

Treasury Policy Note – expected Regulations to require insurers to provide information relating to the impacts of the Civil Liability Bill

“Damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts”: See PIAB – Insights into the Personal Injury Environment, November 2019

Overall, the Alliance expects general damages for minor, fully recovered soft tissue injuries to be recalibrated in the manner reflected in the ISME Fair Book of Quantum which corresponds with our own independent academic advice.

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PRESS RELEASE

06/03/2021

Alliance reacts with dismay to judicial guidelines 

Calls on Government to intervene immediately and do the right thing

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has reacted with dismay to the new Personal Injuries Guidelines published today by the Judicial Council and has called on the Government to immediately intervene to do the right thing for hard-pressed motorists, charities, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and SMEs severely affected by insurance costs, by dramatically reducing the proposed damages for minor injuries.

The new judicial guidelines are set to replace the current Book of Quantum guidelines on the amounts awarded for personal injuries.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, said “Getting insurance costs down means cutting the general damages paid out for minor, fully recovered injuries to reflect international norms and norms already established by the Court of Appeal. It would have taken reductions of 80% to the damages handed out for such injuries in order to do so. In advance of the adoption of these guidelines, we called on the judiciary to have regard to the common good in their deliberations but they have ignored this plea and we are dismayed at what they are now proposing.”

Examples of minor injuries that remain way too high following the Judicial Council review include:

  • Minor thumb injury (no sprain, no breakage). Was €21,200 reduced to €12,000 (-43%) . Currently €4,582 in England & Wales
  • Minor, substantially recovered. Was €15,700. Now €6,000 (-62%). Currently €4,192 in England & Wales (will drop to €1,492 in May). Up to €1,125 in Germany.  Unlikely to receive compensation in Sweden.
  • Minor, full recovery expected. Was €19,400. Now €12,000 (-38%). Currently €7,605 in England & Wales (will drop to €4,763 in May).
  • Moderate. Was €30,200. Now €23,000 (-24%). Currently €13,225 in England & Wales
  • Minor, full recovery expected. Was €18,400. Now €12,000 (-35%). Currently €7,605 in England & Wales
  • Minor. Was €23,100. Now €12,000 (-48%). Currently €7,413 in England & Wales

“We have now written to An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, in his role as Chair of the Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform, asking Government to intervene immediately, take control of the situation and cap general damages such that damages for minor injuries are reduced by an average of 80% compared to the previous Book of Quantum guidelines. The Law Reform Commission has made it clear that such an action would be entirely constitutional subject to certain safeguards and it is up to the Government to do the right thing now for the sake of the common good.

“In the meantime, any changes implemented as a result of today’s announcement should be immediately passed on in reductions by insurers to their policyholders.“

Eoin McCambridge, managing director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The single biggest element of the cost of insurance, as determined by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, the Personal Injuries Commission and the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database, is compensation; and general damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts. What we award for minor, fully recovered injuries in Ireland is 4.4 times higher than in England & Wales and further multiples higher than other European jurisdictions. An 80% reduction on minor injuries would only bring us down to where England and Wales currently are and would still be nowhere near the equivalent damages in other European countries – and England and Wales are further slashing their damages for minor whiplash injuries this May.

“We are not talking about damages for serious injuries here. Where a person is seriously injured due the negligence of someone else, they must be properly compensated and that is what insurance is there for. What we are talking about are the bumps, bruises and mild, fully recovered whiplash injuries where treatment ends when the legal action is finished. We reward these injuries at a level unprecedented in Europe and these are the awards that are damaging Irish society.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Insurance costs remain an existential issue for Irish SMEs, charities, sports and cultural organisations, voluntary and community groups. Government must move immediately on this because the Irish economy is not going to recover from Covid-19 through SMEs, or Irish society through the voluntary & community sector, unless insurance is sorted.”

ENDS

NOTES:

“The single biggest element of the cost of insurance…is compensation”: See Alliance for Insurance Reform Fact Sheet No. 2 “Who Gets What?” graphic.

“Damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts”: See PIAB – Insights into the Personal Injury Environment, November 2019

“And England and Wales are further slashing their damages for minor whiplash injuries this May.” https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=462cc73f-7e17-4547-a22a-0b4c0327c24f

“What we are talking about are the bumps, bruises and mild, fully recovered whiplash injuries where treatment ends when the legal action is finished.”: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/most-whiplash-patients-end-treatment-when-legal-action-finished-1.4041918

Overall, the Alliance expects general damages for minor, fully recovered soft tissue injuries to be recalibrated in the manner reflected in the ISME Fair Book of Quantum which corresponds with our own independent academic advice.

______

PRESS RELEASE

23/02/2021

The National Campaign for the Arts joins the Alliance 

Says insurance situation has become unworkable

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed its latest and 41st member organisation, The National Campaign for the Arts.

The National Campaign for the Arts is a volunteer-led, grassroots movement that makes the case for the arts in Ireland, an artistic and cultural community comprised of over 55,000 people. They work to ensure that the arts are on local and national government agendas and are recognised as a vital part of contemporary Irish life.

Angela Dorgan, Chair of the Nation Campaign for the Arts Steering Committee said “Inadequate, inaccessible and unsustainably expensive insurance-product is a significant issue for artists, arts workers and arts organisations. In recent years, the situation has become unworkable with many organisations unable to purchase suitable insurance to cover the full scope of their activities at an affordable price, or at all. NCFA is proud to become a member of the Alliance for Insurance Reform and looks forward to working with them to deliver meaningful insurance reform in Ireland.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “With so many challenges being posed by the current pandemic, insurance should not be on the agenda for our artists, art workers or arts organisations. We call on the Government to urgently accelerate the pace of insurance reform so that our creative and cultural sectors can focus on recovering from the impact of Covid-19 and delivering an artistic response that will significantly contribute to the recovery of Irish society as a whole.”

In particular, we ask that they prioritise the following real reforms:

  1. Reduce unfair general damages to reflect international norms and the principles already established by the higher courts – including that ‘minor injuries attract modest damages’
  2. Review and re-balance the “common duty of care” to require occupiers to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate
  3. Support a fully-resourced Garda Insurance Fraud Unit
  4.     Reform and strengthen PIAB            
  5.   Insist on insurers committing to a schedule of forecast reductions for planned reforms”

The Alliance now brings together 41 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 700,000 employees, 599,000 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.

ENDS

CONTACT:

Aileen Galvin, National Campaign for the Arts, info@ncfa.ie

Peter Boland, Alliance for Insurance Reform. contact@insurancereform.ie

____

PRESS RELEASE

05/02/2021

Alliance expresses serious concerns regarding Judicial Council guidelines

Calls on Judiciary to reduce damages for minor injuries by 80%

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has expressed serious concerns at reports that the Judicial Council is tending towards the adoption of guidelines that would reflect those in the Green Book, Northern Ireland’s personal injuries guidelines.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, which represents charities, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and SMEs severely affected by insurance costs said “Such a development would be unlikely to lead to meaningful reductions in the cost of personal injury claims and hence insurance, unless it came hand-in-hand with wholesale reform of the Irish legal system. Otherwise, using the Green Book as a reference point would be the status quo masquerading as reform.

“We understand that the adoption and publication of new Judicial Personal Injury Guidelines have been postponed until the 20th February and we welcome any opportunity for serious reflection on the guidelines but we call on the Judicial Council, in their deliberations, to have regard to the common good in reducing general damages for fully recovered minor injuries by at least 80% to reflect international norms and norms already established by the Court of Appeal.”

Eoin McCambridge,  Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The single biggest element of the cost of insurance, as determined by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, the Personal Injuries Commission and the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database, is compensation; and general damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts. What we award for minor, fully recovered injuries in Ireland is 4.4 times higher than in England & Wales and further multiples higher than other European jurisdictions. An 80% reduction on minor injuries would only bring us down to where England and Wales currently are and would still be nowhere near the equivalent damages in other European countries – and England and Wales are further slashing their damages for minor whiplash injuries later this year.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Insurance costs remain an existential issue for Irish SMEs, charities, sports and cultural organisations, voluntary and community groups. The Irish economy is not going to recover from Covid-19 through SMEs, or Irish society through the voluntary & community sector, unless insurance is sorted.”

ENDS

NOTES:

“Reports that the Judicial Council is tending towards the adoption of guidelines that would reflect those in the Green Book”:

https://www.independent.ie/business/judges-set-to-disappoint-with-new-injury-payout-guidelines-40055523.html

“The single biggest element of the cost of insurance…is compensation”: See Alliance for Insurance Reform Fact Sheet No. 2 “Who Gets What?” graphic.

“Damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts”: See PIAB – Insights into the Personal Injury Environment, November 2019

“What we are talking about are the bumps, bruises and mild, fully recovered whiplash injuries where treatment ends when the legal action is finished.”: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/most-whiplash-patients-end-treatment-when-legal-action-finished-1.4041918

Overall, the Alliance expects general damages for minor, fully recovered soft tissue injuries to be recalibrated in the manner reflected in the ISME Fair Book of Quantum which corresponds with our own independent academic advice.

____________

PRESS RELEASE

05/02/2021

Alliance welcomes Commercial Court business interruption decision

Calls on all insurers to quickly settle valid claims and Central Bank to publish update

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the decision of the Commercial Court in four test cases brought by pub owners over insurer FBD’s refusal to pay out on business disruption over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Padraig Cribben, Director of the Alliance and Chief Executive of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland said “We welcome this outcome and call on all insurers underwriting in Ireland to move urgently now to settle all valid business interruption claims arising from Covid-19, to review all claims already declined and to inform all policyholders who have a valid claim that this is the case. To string any further clearly valid claims out by dragging cases into litigation or to the ombudsman would be unconscionable at this stage and must be subject to aggravated damages when resolved.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “Equally we call on the Central Bank to demonstrate that safeguarding consumers is a priority by publishing an update on the work they have carried out under their COVID-19 and Business Interruption Insurance Supervisory FrameworkKeeping that work under wraps merely facilitates insurers determined to minimise their exposure to valid Covid19-related business interruption claims.”

ENDS

____________

PRESS RELEASE

21/01/2021

Alliance calls on Judiciary to reduce damages for minor injuries by 80%

As the Judicial Council prepares Personal Injuries Guidelines to replace the Book of Quantum, the Alliance for Insurance Reform has called on the judiciary to have regard to the common good in their deliberations and reduce awards for minor personal injuries by 80%.

The Judicial Council is scheduled to adopt and publish new judicial guidelines on damages for personal injuries by 31st July at the latest. These new guidelines will replace the current Book of Quantum guidelines as to the amounts that may be awarded in personal injury claims. It is understood that draft guidelines are to be considered at a meeting of the full Judicial Council on the 5th February.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, which represents charities, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and SMEs severely affected by insurance costs said “The single biggest element of the cost of insurance, as determined by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, the Personal Injuries Commission and the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database, is compensation; and general damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts. What we award for minor, fully recovered injuries in Ireland is 4.4 times higher than in England & Wales and further multiples higher than other European jurisdictions. An 80% reduction on minor injuries would only bring us down to where England and Wales currently are and would still be nowhere near the equivalent damages in other European countries – and England and Wales are further slashing their damages for minor whiplash injuries later this year.

“We call on the Judicial Council to have regard to the common good in reducing general damages for fully recovered minor injuries by at least 80% to reflect international norms and norms already established by the Court of Appeal.

“We are not talking about damages for serious injuries here. Where a person is seriously injured due the negligence of someone else, they must be properly compensated and that is what insurance is there for. What we are talking about are the bumps, bruises and mild, fully recovered whiplash injuries where treatment ends when the legal action is finished. We reward these injuries at a level unprecedented in Europe and these are the awards that are damaging Irish society.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Insurance costs remain an existential issue for Irish SMEs, charities, sports and cultural organisations, voluntary and community groups. The Irish economy is not going to recover from Covid-19 through SMEs, or Irish society through the voluntary & community sector, unless insurance is sorted.”

Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy at the Wheel (Ireland’s national association of community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises) and director of the Alliance said “This is a singular opportunity for the judiciary to have a profoundly positive impact on Irish community and voluntary groups and small businesses.“

ENDS

NOTES:

“The single biggest element of the cost of insurance…is compensation”: See Alliance for Insurance Reform Fact Sheet No. 2 “Who Gets What?” graphic.

“Damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts”: See PIAB – Insights into the Personal Injury Environment, November 2019

“What we are talking about are the bumps, bruises and mild, fully recovered whiplash injuries where treatment ends when the legal action is finished.”: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/most-whiplash-patients-end-treatment-when-legal-action-finished-1.4041918

Overall, the Alliance expects general damages for minor, fully recovered soft tissue injuries to be recalibrated in the manner reflected in the ISME Fair Book of Quantum which corresponds with our own independent academic advice.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform brings together 39 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 690,000 employees, 599,000 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. Our members include:

  • AOIFE Ireland (Association of Irish Festival Events)
  • Car Rental Council of Ireland
  • Childminding Ireland
  • Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland
  • Community Reuse Network Ireland
  • Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association
  • Cork Business Association
  • Early Childhood Ireland
  • Family Business Network Ireland
  • Federation of Irish Sport
  • Galway Chamber
  • Galway City Business Association
  • Galway County Public Participation Network (PPN)
  • Ireland Active
  • Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism
  • Irish Caravan and Camping Council
  • Irish Concrete Federation
  • Irish Hotels Federation
  • Irish Road Haulage Association
  • Irish Showman’s Guild
  • Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network
  • Irish Travel Agents Association
  • ISME
  • Licensed Vintners Association
  • Motorsport Ireland
  • Nursing Homes Ireland
  • Play Activity and Leisure Ireland
  • Quick Service Food Alliance
  • Restaurants Association of Ireland
  • Retail Excellence
  • RGDATA
  • Sligo PPN
  • Society of the Irish Motor Industry
  • South Dublin County PPN
  • Sport Ireland
  • Union of Students in Ireland
  • Vintners Federation of Ireland
  • Volunteer Ireland
  • The Wheel (Ireland’s national association for community, voluntary and charitable organisations)

For further details contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

______________________________________________

PRESS RELEASE

08/01/2021

Struck out case shows State not serious about insurance fraud

Alliance calls on immediate establishment of Garda insurance fraud unit

Following reports that “A court has struck out the case against a father-of-two who was accused of fraud over a €60,000 road accident injury claim”, “after Dublin District Court heard a book of evidence was not ready” the Alliance for Insurance Reform has accused the State of not taking insurance fraud seriously .

Eoin McCambridge, managing director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “Our members regularly encounter insurance fraud. Fraudulent and exaggerated insurance claims have a profound impact on the businesses and services targeted and yet there are virtually no prosecutions for this crime, with fraudsters regularly having their unsustainable claims dismissed but walking away scot-free to claim another day. Yesterday we saw a rare prosecution collapse because the book of evidence was not ready. It is clear that the State is not taking this crime seriously.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “Four years after the Cost of Insurance Working Group first addressed this issue and despite a clear commitment from An Garda Síochána in 2019 to a division-led approach, we are no closer today to having a formal Garda response to insurance fraud. As a matter of urgency, Government must ensure the immediate establishment a Garda insurance fraud unit to show some level of commitment to resolving this problem. Further reports and studies are no longer acceptable in addressing this issue.”

ENDS

For further details contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

______________________________

PRESS RELEASE

04/01/2021

Will 2021 be the year insurance gets sorted?

Alliance says that depends on just 5 outcomes

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has claimed that the insurance crisis can be sorted in 2021 but only if 5 key actions are fully completed.

Eoin McCambridge, managing director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “Nothing the Government has done so far has applied any downward pressure on insurance premiums and for charities, community and voluntary groups, sports and cultural organisations and SMEs, insurance has been unsustainably expensive now for over 5 years. If Government expects Ireland to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic through SMEs, or for Irish society as a whole to recover through voluntary and community groups, then insurance must and can be sorted in 2021.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “ In the last 4 years we have had the Oireachtas Finance Committee Report on Insurance Costs, two Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) reports and 11 CIWG Updates; the reports of the Personal Injuries Commission, two National Claims Information Database reports from the Central Bank, the CCPC Market Study on Liability Insurance and the Government’s Action Plan on Insurance Reform. What is abundantly clear from these is that if insurance costs are to be brought under control, there are 5 key issues that must be actioned this year:

  1. General damages for minor injuries must be dramatically reduced to reflect international norms and norms already established by the Court of Appeal: we await the new personal injuries guidelines to be adopted and published by the Judicial Council, due by 31st July of this year at the latest. But we have no idea what the new guidelines will look like or when we will get to see them, if at all, before they are adopted by the Courts.
  2. Redefine and re-balance the “common duty of care” to require occupiers to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate: we await action from the Minister for Justice that will address the situation where many policyholders find themselves 100% liable for accidents regardless of the circumstances.
  3. Establish a formal Garda response to insurance fraud: 4 years after the Cost of Insurance Working Group first addressed this issue and despite commitments from An Garda Síochána in 2019 to a division-led approach, we are no closer to having a formal Garda response to insurance fraud.
  4. Reform of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board:  If PIAB is not radically reformed, it will be irrelevant within a decade and the compensation of people injured due to the negligence of others will be a process managed and controlled by the legal profession, for the benefit of the legal profession, with dire consequences for the cost and availability of insurance cover in Ireland. We await urgent proposals for reform and enhancement of PIAB from Minister of State Robert Troy.
  5. Produce a schedule of forecast reductions for reforms: we need commitments from the insurance industry that all the reforms being worked on will actually lead to substantial reductions in insurance costs. We await an assessment of the expected impact on premium levels of the reforms being introduced, from Minister of State Sean Fleming.

“There are 66 actions in the Government’s Action Plan on Insurance Reform, but unless these 5  issues are addressed this year, then 2021 will go down as the year insurance could have been sorted, but wasn’t.”

ENDS

For further details contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

_____

PRESS RELEASE

23/12/2020

Alliance calls on the European Commission to expand the scope of its insurance investigation to include liability insurance

Expresses concerns that CCPC market study will become ‘just another report’

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has called on the European Commission to expand the scope of its current insurance investigation to include liability insurance and expressed concerns that the market study on the public liability insurance market published by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission overnight will become ‘just another report’.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “The CCPC report raises the issue of access to the InsuranceLink claims database, currently controlled by established insurers. Access to the motor insurance element of this database is currently being investigated by the European Commission. We call on the Commission to now expand the scope of its investigation to include liability insurance. Additionally, as recommended by the CCPC, that database must be transferred to independent control and made available to any insurer wishing to offer cover in the Irish market. This issue was flagged in the very first Cost of Insurance Working Group report in January 2017 but has been bogged down ever since.”

“We welcome the CCPC’s recommendation that the role of PIAB be enhanced and expanded ‘to provide for it to become the main personal injury settlement channel in the State’ and in particular its suggestion that ‘this could be done by allocating a range of additional functions such as mediation and/or quasi-judicial powers to PIAB.’”

“Furthermore we urge the Central Bank to publish its National Claims Information Database information at insurer level in the first liability Insurance NCID Report due in the first half of 2021, as recommended by the CCPC.

“Finally, the Alliance notes that the massive level of insurance cost increases experienced in many Irish commercial, voluntary & community sectors over the last 5 years is hidden in this report by the broad aggregated structure of the research carried out on behalf of the CCPC and the lack of any independent data noted by the Commission.”

Commenting on the publication of the report, Eoin McCambridge, managing director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The time for additional reports is long gone. Policyholders have been closing down due to unsustainable insurance costs and this report will not in itself strike fear into the hearts of anyone making money on the back of policyholders struggling to pay their premiums. In the last 4 years we have had the Oireachtas Finance Committee Report on Insurance Costs, two Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) reports and 11 CIWG Updates; the reports of the Personal Injuries Commission and most recently the Action Plan from the Cabinet Sub-Group on Insurance Reform. Now we need action to make sure the CCPC market study does not become just another report.“

ENDS

For further details contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

_________________

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

08/12/2020

Alliance welcomes declaration of intent on insurance reform

Calls on Government to speed up the process

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the Government’s ‘Action Plan for Insurance Reform’ (published today by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment’s Sub-Group on Insurance Reform), while expressing concern at the timelines involved.

Commenting on the release of the plan, Eoin McCambridge, managing director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “As a declaration of intent, this plan ticks all the boxes. But progress on real insurance reform has happened at a snail’s pace and the majority of the proposals in the Action Plan have been doing the rounds since the start of 2017. That is 4 years of unsustainably high insurance premiums closing down businesses and stopping voluntary groups from doing what they volunteered to do. We call on the Government to not treat the timelines in this plan as targets to be aimed for. Rather we urge them to speed up the pace of reforms to beat these timelines and allow businesses and society in general to reopen after Covid19 without insurance costs hanging over their heads.”

Actions and timelines committed to in the Plan include:

  • Report on the implementation and early impact of the new personal injury guidelines to be adopted in July 2021 by the Judicial Council– December 2021
  • Ensuring that fraudulent claims are forwarded to the DPP – December 2021
  • Implementation of recommendations regarding the publishing of insurance fraud data – December 2021
  • Central Bank supervision of the insurance industry’s response to business interruption claims by SMEs – ‘Ongoing’ – no deadline
  • Proposals to Government on implementation of ‘any changes deemed necessary’ to Occupiers Liability Act with regard to the duty of care – June 2021
  • Legislative proposals on reform of the role of PIAB – June 2021
  • Publication of Central Bank data on liability insurance – June 2021

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “In the last 4 years we have had the Oireachtas Finance Committee Report on Insurance Costs, two Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) reports and 11 CIWG Updates; and the reports of the Personal Injuries Commission. Many of the meaningful actions in these reports experienced slippage or did not happen at all and the reality is that no reform that has happened so far has applied downward pressure on insurance costs. The actions in this report must not be allowed to be dragged out in the same way.”

ENDS

FOR FURTHER DETAILS CONTACT: contact@insurancereform.ie

____________________________________________

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

01/12/2020

Alliance meets Minister responsible for PIAB

Calls for urgent and radical reform to strengthen the Board’s role

The Alliance for Insurance Reform today met Minister of State Robert Troy, the Minister whose delegated responsibilities include the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB); and expressed its alarm at the publication of data by the Central Bank which shows the percentage of motor insurance personal injury claims settled by PIAB has fallen to only 14%.

Commenting prior to the meeting, Eoin McCambridge, managing director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “When PIAB was launched in 2004, it had a profound and immediate impact on insurance costs as was intended. But it has been undermined since then to the extent that far more cases now go to litigation, with no benefit for plaintiffs but enormous fees for solicitors and barristers.”

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “If urgent and radical reform of PIAB is not carried out, it will be irrelevant within a decade and we will be back to a situation where the compensation of people injured due to the negligence of others will be a process managed and controlled by the legal profession, for the benefit of the legal profession, with dire consequences for the cost and availability of insurance cover in Ireland.  It is up to the Minister to address this issue now and we call on him to publish detailed reform proposals and most importantly, to follow through on those proposals, as a matter of extreme urgency.”

ENDS

NOTE: The 14% figure quoted in this release comes from Figure 13, on page 28 of the Private Motor Insurance Report 2 National Claims Information Database published on Tuesday 3rd November.

_________________________________________

PRESS RELEASE

06/11/2020

Alliance expresses concern for future of the PIAB

Calls for urgent and radical reform to strengthen its role

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has reacted with alarm to the publication of data by the Central Bank which shows the percentage of motor insurance personal injury claims settled by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board has fallen to only 14%.

Commenting on the news, Eoin McCambridge, managing director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “When the PIAB was launched in 2004, it had a profound and immediate impact on motor insurance costs as was intended. But it has been undermined since then to the extent that far more cases now go to litigation, with no benefit for plaintiffs but enormous fees for solicitors and barristers.”

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “It is up to the newly-formed Government Cabinet Sub-Group on insurance reform to address this issue urgently and radically, before the PIAB becomes irrelevant through no fault of its own. We have contacted the Minister of State with responsibility for the PIAB, deputy Robert Troy, to seek an urgent meeting in this regard.

ENDS

NOTE: The 14% figure quoted in this release comes from Figure 13, on page 28 of the Private Motor Insurance Report 2 National Claims Information Database published on Tuesday of this week.

FOR FURTHER DETAILS CONTACT: contact@insurancereform.ie

________________________________________________
PRESS RELEASE
31st October 2020
Alliance welcomes replacement of CIWG with Cabinet Committee Sub-Group
Urgent action on real reforms will be the measure of Sub-Group’s success

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the establishment of a Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on insurance reform, to replace the Cost of Insurance Working Group.

Commenting on the Government’s announcement of the plan, Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said that “The Sub-Group on insurance reform is to be welcomed. Its predecessor, the Cost of Insurance Working Group, had become a box-ticking exercise and unfortunately for policyholders, none of the boxes that were ticked applied downward pressure on insurance costs. The success of this Sub-Group will be measured by the speed with which it moves to get real reforms in place.

“We note that on the launch of the plan, Deputy Sean Fleming, Minister of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance, identified a substantial reduction in the level of damages for personal injuries paid out in Ireland as being key to meaningful reform. Additionally, we would see the rebalancing of the duty of care applied to policyholders in Ireland as an essential part of the reform agenda.

“We look forward to seeing the detailed plans and timelines of the Sub-Committee and trust that it will move swiftly to implement them as it is clear that the Irish economy will not recover from the pandemic through SMEs, nor will Irish society recover through charity, voluntary and community groups, unless insurance is sorted.”

ENDS

For further information, contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

__________________________

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/10/2020

Alliance welcomes its latest member

Volunteer Ireland says insurance creating huge barrier to volunteering in Ireland

 The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed its latest member, Volunteer Ireland.

Volunteer Ireland is the national volunteer development organisation and a support body for all local Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services in Ireland.

Nina Arwitz, CEO of Volunteer Ireland said “Insurance is creating a huge barrier to volunteering in Ireland. Many organisations that involve volunteers are struggling to secure insurance for their volunteer programmes or face prohibitive insurance costs. Over 1 million people in Ireland volunteer each year, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Ireland relies on volunteers to deliver vital services in areas such as homelessness, youth work, animal welfare, environmental protection, social equality, care for elderly and health. The challenges around insurance present a real threat that many organisations working in these areas will not be able to survive, which would have huge negative consequences for our society.” 

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “While we warmly welcome Volunteer Ireland to our Alliance, it is frustrating that an organisation so important for the fabric of our society feels obliged to join us. Insurance should not be on their agenda, particularly at the moment. We call on the Government to urgently accelerate the pace of insurance reform so that Volunteer Ireland can focus on driving the recovery of Ireland’s volunteering infrastructure from COVID19.

 In particular, we ask that they prioritise the following real reforms:

  1. Reduce unfair general damages to reflect international norms and the principles already established by the higher courts – including that ‘minor injuries attract modest damages’
  2. Review and re-balance the “common duty of care” to require occupiers to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate
  3. Support a fully-resourced Garda Insurance Fraud Unit
  4. Insist on insurers committing to a schedule of forecast reductions for planned reforms

 The Alliance now brings together 39 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 670,000 employees, 599,000 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.

ENDS

Contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

____________________________________

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 30th September 2020

Alliance welcomes Law Reform Commission personal injury report

Urges judiciary to reflect the common good in reducing damages

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the publication of the Law Reform Commission’s Report on Capping Damages in Personal Injuries Actions.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said We welcome the timely publication of this important Report. Right now the Report changes nothing in that new draft guidelines on general damages are due to be submitted to the Board of the Judicial Council by the 28th October.  But on the other hand it clearly endorses a ‘Plan B’ – the capping of damages by the Oireachtas – if the Judicial Council does not fully reflect the common good in urgently delivering the dramatic reductions in damages for minor injuries necessary if we are to address our current insurance crisis in any meaningful way”.

 Eoin McCambridge, Director of the Alliance and Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway said “Small businesses, voluntary groups, charities, sports clubs and cultural organisations, the heart of the Irish economy and Irish society, are being seriously damaged by the cost of insurance or in numerous cases now unable to obtain insurance at all. As the Personal Injuries Commission clearly identified, sky-high general damages are at the heart of this issue and must be cut to reflect international norms to ensure that legitimate minor injuries attract modest damages. Policyholders cannot wait any longer for dramatic, meaningful reductions in awards for minor injuries. The Alliance expects general damages for minor injuries to be reduced along the lines of the Fair Book of Quantum published by ISME.”

 ENDS

NOTE: Responsibility for reviewing guidelines for general damages to replace the Book of Quantum  is currently with the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee of the Judicial Council and the Committee is due to present draft guidelines to the Board of the Judicial Council by the 28th October. We have installed a countdown clock on our website counting down to that date.

CONTACT: contact@insurancereform.ie

_________________________

PRESS RELEASE

18th August 2020

Alliance welcomes insights in Court of Appeal judgement

Launches countdown clock to deadline for new judicial guidelines on damages

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed observations on the calculation of Irish personal injury awards provided in a judgement by the Court of Appeal on a High Court personal injury case.

Linda Murray, Director of the Alliance and owner of Huckleberry’s Den play centre in Navan said “We welcome the timely and practical insights of the Court of Appeal in this judgement on issues such as the level of personal injury awards, the current lack of consistency in such awards and the impact on society of those awards.  SMEs, voluntary groups, charities and sports and cultural organisations, the core of the Irish economy and Irish society, are being seriously damaged by the cost of insurance or in numerous cases now unable to obtain insurance. As the Personal Injuries Commission clearly identified, sky-high general damages are at the heart of this issue and must be cut to reflect international norms to ensure that legitimate minor injuries attract modest damages.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said  “General damages for minor fully-recovered injuries must be comprehensively reduced. Responsibility for this task is currently with the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee of the Judicial Council and the Committee is due to present draft guidelines to the Board of the Judicial Council by the 28th October. These guidelines are intended to replace the current Book of Quantum. We have installed a countdown clock on our website counting down to that date and we very much look forward to seeing the judiciary reflect the common good in their deliberations. Policyholders cannot wait any longer for dramatic, meaningful reductions in awards for minor injuries. The Alliance expects general damages for minor injuries to be dramatically reduced along the lines of the Fair Book of Quantum published by ISME.”

 ENDS

NOTES:

As part of a comprehensive judgement detailing how damages for personal injury cases should be assessed, Justice Seamus Noonan observed that  “The cost of (motor, public or employer’s liability) insurance is for most ordinary people and businesses, a significant outgoing.  The extent to which awards by courts influence that cost is in recent times, a matter of widespread public discourse, debate and dispute. Whatever the reality may be, it is clear that awards made by the courts have an impact on society as a whole and the courts are mindful of that fact.  Ultimately each member of society must bear the cost of a compensation system whether through the payment of insurance premia in the case of private defendants or taxes in the case of public defendants. Society thus has a direct interest in the level of awards”.

Justice Noonan also commented that “Frequently, the identity of the trial judge would not be known until moments before the case actually commenced, resulting in varying outcomes depending on the ‘draw’.  It is clear that this has the potential for injustice.  It cannot be fair to either plaintiff or defendant that the value of their case depends on the identity of the trial judge. Personal injury litigation should not be a lottery and plaintiffs and defendants alike are entitled to reasonable consistency and predictability.  This is particularly important in the context of injuries which fall at the lower end of the spectrum as these constitute the vast bulk of cases, most commonly involving soft tissue, or ‘whiplash’ injuries.”

The Court of Appeal awarded total general damages of  €35,000 plus agreed special damages of €6,000, making in total €41,000. This is a dramatic reduction of the High Court award of €70,000 for general damages together with agreed special damages in the amount of €6,000 making a total award of €76,000. Justice Noonan commented that “Taking into account all the relevant factors to which I have referred in the context of the proportionality of the award in this case, I am satisfied that by any reasonable measure it cannot be viewed as proportionate. It is not proportionate when viewed against the measure of the maximum for the most serious injuries.  Neither is it proportionate in relation to other comparable awards and in that respect, the most directly comparable award is that in Payne v Nugent.  Finally, it bears no relation to the range identified in the Book of Quantum which I consider appropriate in this case.”

A decision on costs is pending, subject to a submission from the defendants and a response from the plaintiff.

As the judgement was delivered electronically, both Whelan J. and Power J. indicated their agreement with it.

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PRESS RELEASE

16th July 2020

Alliance echoes call of lone horseman for ‘complete reform of insurance’

State action on Covid19-related business interruption claims ‘invisible’

As horseman Sean Kilkenny continues his insurance protest trek from County Clare to Leinster House with his coach and horses, the Alliance for Insurance Reform has expressed intense frustration at ongoing delays in action on insurance.

Linda Murray, Director of the Alliance and owner of Huckleberry’s Den play centre in Navan said “We completely sympathise with Sean on the loss of his livelihood and echo his call for ‘complete reform of insurance in Ireland’.

 “SMEs, community and voluntary groups are dealing with the results of that lack of reform every day, through unsustainable insurance costs and fear for the future of their organisation as the insurance crisis hampers their recovery from the pandemic.”

Michael Magner, Chair of the Alliance’s Covid19 Working Group and owner of Cork’s Vienna Woods Hotel said “The Covid19 pandemic has thrown up multiple issues with regard to insurance and the State response on business interruption (BI) claims in particular has been invisible. The Alliance wrote to the Governor of the Central Bank on the 23rd March urging him to take action that would “quickly turn a blanket ban (by insurers on covering any Covid19-related BI claims) into a sensible resolution of the problem.” To date, all we have seen from the Central Bank is a number of public pronouncements, but no solid action.

 “Equally, our June 8th request to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman that he “put in place an emergency fast track process leading to a legally binding decision for the business interruption related complaints your office has already received, in order to provide some guidance to the many businesses faced with BI refusals” has gone unanswered.

 “Small businesses and community enterprises waiting for clarification on their business interruption claims cannot wait for months or even years for a clear decision. Following standard operating procedures is not enough in this crisis. We urge the Central Bank Governor and the Ombudsman to move swiftly to get clarity on who is covered by BI insurance and to what extent.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said ” If the Government is expecting the economy to recover through SMEs and for society to recover through community and voluntary groups, insurance reform needs to be resolved this year. While the pandemic has made matters even worse for policyholders, the fundamentals that must be addressed have not changed.

 “Unfair general damages must be cut to reflect international norms and ensure that legitimate minor injuries attract modest damages. The Alliance expects general damages for minor injuries to be dramatically reduced along the lines of the Fair Book of Quantum published by ISME.

 “The ‘common duty of care’ must be urgently reviewed and re-balanced so that occupiers are required to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate but not absolute, ignoring personal responsibility.

 “A fully resourced, dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit must be established.

 “And Government must insist on insurers committing to a schedule of reductions on delivery of the key reforms being progressed.

 “Finally, we call again on Government to reinstate the Cabinet subcommittee on insurance reform dropped at the last minute from the final Programme for Government document. With all relevant Ministers and civil servants to be actively involved, this committee is essential to coordinate action and ensure the necessary reforms are put in place urgently.” 

 ENDS

For further information contact: contact@insurancereform.ie

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PRESS RELEASE

16th June 2020

Cabinet subcommittee on insurance reform dropped at last minute  

Alliance asks parties to reconsider decision

 The Alliance for Insurance Reform has reacted with disappointment and frustration to the dropping of the proposed cabinet subcommittee on insurance reform featured in the draft programme for government circulated this morning. In the final Programme for Government document, “Our Shared Future”, responsibility for insurance reform has been subsumed under a Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment which according to the final document will “prioritise the issue of insurance reform”.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “We are deeply disappointed and frustrated with this last-minute decision. While we welcome the priority afforded to insurance reform by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment, without the focus of a dedicated subcommittee the rest of the insurance reforms in the PFG document are in danger of becoming a series of  vague commitments and considerations.

“We would ask the parties to reconsider this decision given the centrality of the issue to our economic recovery and the need for focused urgent action if we are to stop insurance getting in the way of our national recovery from Covid19 and halting the damage to Irish charities, community groups, sports organisations, our arts and culture and SMEs caused by unsustainable insurance costs. Further delays to reform are just not an option any more”.

 

ENDS

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PRESS RELEASE

15/06/2020

Alliance welcomes focus on insurance reform in programme for government document

Calls on incoming government, judiciary and Garda Commissioner to move swiftly

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the clear focus on insurance reform in the Programme for Government document now in circulation, but has urged a real sense of urgency from everyone now charged with getting reforms over the line.

Proposed reforms listed in the document include:

  • Establish a cabinet subcommittee on insurance reform  
  • Recognise the work of the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee of the Judicial Council to provide guidance on personal injury claims
  • Enhance and reform the PIAB
  • Regulate claims harvesters
  • Consider changes to the Occupiers Liability Act and The Civil Liability Act to strengthen waivers and notices to increase protections for consumers, businesses, sporting clubs and community groups
  • Consider a constitutional amendment to enable the Oireachtas to set general damages
  • Address insurance fraud by seeking to expand the National Economic Crime Bureau
  • Ensure fraudulent claims are forwarded to the DPP
  • Establish a fraud database
  • Give additional powers to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)
  • Oblige insurers to quantify impact of key reforms
  • Work to remove dual pricing on insurance

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “While we welcome the focus on insurance reform in the programme for government document, we have been here before with the hope offered by the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report in 2017 and the Personal Injuries Commissions Reports in 2018. If Irish SMEs and voluntary groups are going to recover from the Covid19 crisis, we need urgent real reform on foot of the programme for government.

 “We will need the full engagement of the next Government and particularly the new cabinet sub-committee if we are to make meaningful progress. But  we will also need the Judicial Council to move swiftly to dramatically reduce general damages for minor injuries; and the Garda Commissioner to establish a full network of divisional fraud units with dedicated fraud investigators and a specialised support unit at the NECB. On the reforms that are proposed, we cannot afford any further delays as most of them have already been round the houses before.

 “We will be seeking clarification from the political parties on the commitment to reform the Occupiers Liability Act and The Civil Liability Act with regard to duty of care. If their approach is merely to strengthen waivers and notices, this will not be sufficient to address an issue that has become all the more important in the light of the current pandemic. We must rebalance the duty of care so that occupiers are required to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate but not absolute, ignoring personal responsibility.

 ”We also note with concern that there is no mention of commencing the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019,  an important piece of consumer protection legislation that was signed into law by the President in December 2019, but has still not been commenced by the Minister at the request of the insurance industry. This legislation cannot be allowed to be sidelined on behalf of a narrow-interest lobby group.”

 ENDS

For further information contact: contact@insurancereform.ie