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Insurance Ireland Welcomes Oireachtas Committee Recommendation for Courts to explain Personal Injury Awards above the Book of Quantum

  • Comparable measure in the UK only allows for 10% variation from their Book of Quantum thereby making claims settlement more predictable
  • There was a 48% increase in the average Circuit Court Award from €11,941 in 2013 to €17,722 in 2016
  • “The growing cost of personal injury claims is a major societal issue and this proposal can help bring consistency to personal injury awards” – Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland

 

Issued Wednesday 11July 2018.  An Oireachtas Committee recommendation that judges explain instances where court awards surpass the levels set in the Book of Quantum – a guide for standard insurance pay-outs – has been welcomed by Insurance Ireland as a first step towards stabilising claims costs. 

Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland said, “The Cost of Doing Business Report rightly identifies greater adherence to the Book of Quantum as a means to ensure consistency in personal injury awards and reduce the effects of claims volatility on all customers. Court awards set the level of expectation for all similar unsettled claims, so if a new pay-out level is set for an injury type, it establishes a precedent that insurers must reserve for.”

“The proposed measure, where judges would have to explain instances where court awards surpass the levels set in the Book of Quantum, resembles one that exists in the UK where in certain instances there is only a 10% variation allowed beyond the award levels in the Judicial College Guidelines, the UK’s Book of Quantum. This reduces the volatility in award levels, makes claims settlement more predictable and reduces claims inflation, which is a significant issue in Ireland with a 48% increase in the average Circuit Court Award from 2013 to 2016.”

Kevin concluded, “These costs are impacting businesses and individual policyholders and must be tackled through benchmarking Irish personal injury awards against other jurisdictions, acting on any post benchmarking recommendations, and giving more powers to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. Given the extensive data on claims trends available to policymakers, there is an opportunity to deliver the necessary policy solutions in 2018 and Insurance Ireland urges the Government to bring them in as a matter of priority.”  

The claims trends in Ireland are stark with a 50% increase in personal injury cases lodged in the High Court and Circuit Court from 2007 to 2016 and a 42% increase in applications to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board from 2007 to 2017. Our personal injury costs are also dramatically out of kilter internationally with up to €54,000 paid for a minor ankle fracture in Ireland versus €14,000 in the UK.

Insurance Ireland presented to the Joint Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation on two occasions to present its solutions to the issue of rising cost of claims. In addition, Insurance Ireland highlighted the competitiveness issues affecting its members and the 28,000 people employed directly and indirectly in insurance.

Ends.

Media contact:

John Byrne

Head of Communications, Insurance Ireland

Tel: (+353) 01 644 7781 / 087 938 3852

 

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