Issued 29 July, 2022. Insurance Ireland welcomes today’s announcement from PIAB which stated that in 2021 Personal Injuries claims were down 18% on 2020 and down 31% versus 2019. Insurance Ireland also notes that preliminary PIAB data shows a 42% fall in average PIAB awards following the introduction of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines last year.
Commenting on the report, Moyagh Murdock, CEO, Insurance Ireland said “We are encouraged by the figures published by PIAB today and we greatly appreciate PIAB’s commitment to the new Guidelines. While pricing is a matter for individual companies and competition law prevents us from commenting on future pricing in the market, CSO data shows that motor premiums have reduced by 42% since the peak in August 2016.”
The NCID EL PL report published by the Central Bank earlier this year found that in the 2020 reporting period only 11% of cases were settled through PIAB, with 65% settled through litigation. However, we are encouraged by two important High Court cases reaffirming the new Guidelines, but we must emphasise the importance of the Courts consistently applying the Guidelines if we are to see a reduction in the cost of claims from litigation fees. As PIAB’s report shows, the acceptance rate for awards decreased from 51% in 2020 to 44% in 2021.
Murdock continued: “It is important to note that there is a minimal difference for most cases in final award levels settled via PIAB versus those awards settled via the Courts, at a shorter timescale. This means that claimants have access to their award much sooner. The worry with the lower acceptance rate is that more cases will go to litigation for little additional benefit to the claimant but ultimately at a higher cost to the consumer. For the success of the Insurance Reform agenda in Ireland and the credibility of the Personal Injury Guidelines, it will be essential that the cases are heard expeditiously and that the Courts reaffirm the Guidelines in their procedures.”
Insurance Ireland has continually advocated for the strengthening of the powers of PIAB as a means of reducing legal costs in the claims settlement process. An enhanced mandate coupled with the Guidelines introduced last year should see an increase in the acceptance rate for PIAB awards. A more stable sector, delivered through Government reform, can reduce market volatility and bring more certainty for consumers, businesses and insurers alike.