Fine Gael TD for Kildare South and Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, Martin Heydon, has said that more progress is still needed to reduce insurance premiums following the release of the latest progress report from the Cost of Insurance Working Group under Minister of State Michael Darcy.
“I was pleased to bring a delegation of Kildare businesses to meet Minister Darcy in June where we discussed the challenges facing businesses in Kildare from rising insurance costs, and the work of the cost of insurance working group to try to address these issues.
“The working group has now issued its 9th progress report which indicates that on the motor insurance side 69 of the 71 actions, have either been completed, are categorised as “ongoing”, or have been concluded. These reforms are having a significant impact on private motor insurance with CSO figures from June 2019 indicating that the price of motor insurance is now 24.5% lower than the July 2016 peak.
“However, despite progress on recommendations, more work is needed to reduce the cost of insurance for small businesses. The levels of personal injury damages awarded in this country need to be reduced in line with those awarded in other jurisdictions. The passing of the Judicial Council Bill by both Houses of the Oireachtas on 9th July is a major milestone in this regard and it is now up to the Judiciary to establish the Judicial Council. This needs to happen as soon as possible to allow for the establishment of the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee which will hopefully lead to a lowering of award levels here which should have a knock on impact on pricing by the industry.
Notes to the Editor
There has been significant work over the last 6 months in implementing the recommendations of the two reports including the following:
• the passing of the Judicial Council Bill by the Oireachtas on 9 July in order to implement the recommendation of the Personal Injuries Commission regarding award levels in this country, including a judicial recalibration of the existing Book of Quantum guidelines;
• the establishment of the National Claims Information Database in the Central Bank to increase transparency around the future cost of private motor insurance;
• reforms to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board through the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019;
• commencement of the amendments to Sections 8 and 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 to make it easier for businesses and insurers to challenge cases where fraud or exaggeration is suspected;
• the Law Reform Commission (LRC) has commenced its work to undertake a detailed analysis of the possibility of developing constitutionally sound legislation to delimit or cap the amounts of damages which a court may award in respect of some or all categories of personal injuries, as part of its Fifth Programme of Law Reform; and
• various reforms of how fraud is reported to and dealt with by An Garda Síochána, including increased co-ordination with the insurance industry, as well as the recent decision by the Garda Commissioner to develop a divisional focus on insurance fraud which will be guided by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) which will also train Gardaí all over the country on investigating insurance fraud, and the recent success under Operation Coatee, which targets insurance-related criminality.