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People believe €6,543 is a fair amount of compensation for an average soft tissue ‘whiplash’ award – more than €10,000 less than current average

 

People believe €6,543 is a fair amount of compensation for an average soft tissue ‘whiplash’ award – more than €10,000 less than current average

 

  • 78% of those surveyed do not believe tackling the levels of personal injury compensation is being treated as a priority by Government

  • 72% think there should be a cap on injury compensation levels through legislation, with the vast majority of those (87%) supporting a referendum to allow legislation to cap compensation award levels

  • 85% support proposals for a Garda insurance fraud unit

  • 80% support proposals to benchmark Irish personal injury compensation award levels with countries like the UK

 

Issued 04 June 2019. The average soft tissue award in Ireland at €17,338 is more than €10,000 over what the public believe is a fair amount, according to an Ipsos MRBI poll for Insurance Ireland.

 

The findings show the public are keenly engaged on the issue of insurance reform with four in five supporting proposals to benchmark awards, however, 78% do not believe this is being treated as a priority by Government.

 

The majority (85%) are in favour of a dedicated Garda insurance fraud unit and of those, over three in five (61%) believe this should be funded by Government, with one in three (32%) believing it should be funded by the insurance industry.

 

Almost three in four (74%) think current compensation levels result in higher costs for drivers with more than half believing it encourages claiming on accidents (56%) or claiming higher than is required (58%).

 

Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland, “The findings are crystal clear; an overwhelming majority want reform of compensation award levels and they want it urgently. The public understands the impact of high compensation levels on costs for drivers and they believe a fair amount of compensation for an average soft tissue ‘whiplash’ award is €6,543, which is more than €10,000 less than the current average.

 

“There is a now a major gap between what is happening in the claims settlement system in term of amounts awarded and what the public believe should happen. This gap raises a fundamental issue of confidence in the system and its ability to provide fair and appropriate compensation to claimants, while also balancing wider societal issues. 

 

“Inaction costs as the Personal Injuries Commission’s data showed that for all claims up to €100,000, the average award was increasing at over €900 for each year it analysed.

 

“Importantly, 85% of people support the Government’s proposal for a dedicated Garda insurance fraud unit. Insurers have offered to pay for this unit, but the clear priority is its swift establishment to build on the work already being done by An Garda Siochana in this area. 

 

“New guidelines for compensation awards can be set through the establishment of a Judicial Council or through legislation from the Oireachtas. The Personal Injuries Commission recommend the setting up of a Judicial Council but also said the capping of awards should be examined. The public’s view is the issue should be dealt with by whatever available means. The research shows 72% think there should be a cap on injury compensation levels and of these, the vast majority (87%) support proposals for a referendum to allow the Government to legislate to cap compensation award levels.

 

“We are almost two and a half years on from the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report, yet the critical reforms have not yet been delivered. We urge the Government and all parties to support the key legislative reforms to address the cost of claims. This includes passing the Judicial Council Bill to allow the Judiciary to recalibrate compensation levels, and crucially, providing a timeline for its work to be completed.”

 

Editor’s Notes:

 

  • Research was conducted by Ipsos MRBI for Insurance Ireland through its telephone omnibus. The sample size achieved on Omnipoll is 1,000 respondents, giving a low margin of error (of +/-3%) at an overall level. Fieldwork for this research was conducted from 1st – 14th of March.

  • The reference to the average soft tissue award of €17,338 comes from the Personal Injuries Commission report, published in September 2018.

 

Ends.

 

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