27 July, 2021. Insurance Ireland welcomes today’s announcement from PIAB which stated that in 2020 Personal Injuries claims were down 16% on 2019 and down 22% versus 2018, with corresponding decreases in PIAB total awards due to lower claims volumes. Insurance Ireland also notes that preliminary PIAB data shows a 50% fall in average PIAB awards following the introduction of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines earlier this year. Insurance Ireland continues to strongly support the new Guidelines and the Action Plan for Insurance Reform and believe that a more stable sector, delivered through Government reform, will reduce market volatility and bring more certainty for customers and insurers alike. We are at one with the Government and other stakeholders on the urgent need for reform of the cost of claims regime and have campaigned on these issues for many years.
Pricing is a matter for individual companies and competition law prevents us from commenting on future pricing in the market, however, we have seen motor insurance premiums reduce over the past 24 months and are optimistic that costs will continue to be positively impacted by the further implementation of the Government’s reform plan. Insurance Ireland Member CEOs reaffirmed their commitment to this effect at meetings of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach, and we also understand that they made the same points in recent meetings with the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Sean Fleming. The NCID Motor Report published in 2020 showed that average motor premium fell 9% from Q2, 2018 to Q4,2019, while the CSO index shows that the average motor premium has fallen a further 10% since then.
The NCID report published by the Central Bank in 2020 found that 14% of cases are settled through PIAB so we also look forward to any forthcoming data from the Courts. We note that there was a spike on Court applications just prior to the enactment of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines legislation, so those claims will be assessed using the old system, however, we would like to emphasise that the Courts have been obliged to apply the same Guidelines as PIAB since April.
We would like to see other measures in the Action Plan for Insurance Reform also progressing, such as the strengthening of the powers of PIAB, the rebalancing of the duty of care between business and the citizen, and increasing competition in the market. It is particularly crucial that we see a strengthening of PIAB’s ability to settle cases so that fewer claims go to the Courts, where the legal costs add so much to the overall cost of settling claims.
“Today’s figures from PIAB are encouraging, and while Insurance Ireland is prohibited from commenting on pricing, we fully support the Government’s Action Plan for Insurance Reform and we believe good progress is being made. The last time Ireland introduced major reform with the establishment of Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) in 2004, insurers responded positively and consumers benefitted,” said Moyagh Murdock, CEO, Insurance Ireland.