The number of personal injury claims this year is expected to be at its lowest level in 15 years, with mounting pressure on insurers to put money back into policyholders’ pockets.
Thousands of businesses and volunteer organizations struggle with prohibitive premiums caused in part by the sums paid by insurers to pay compensation.
While there’s much to celebrate about a report from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) on claims for the first half of the year, some big issues remain. The Board of Directors is the state body that judges claims for damages for injuries.
As a reporter who has covered personal injury cases that were thrown out of court after being found excessive or fraudulent, I was shocked to learn that the same plaintiffs were originally offered thousands of euros through the PIAB process.
In one case, an individual’s lawsuit was dismissed after video surveillance shown in court showed there was little contact between the two vehicles involved. It was also revealed that they had not disclosed details of previous accidents.
Had that person not decided to pursue a legal case in hopes of a higher payout, they would have received €14,000 in compensation from PIAB. Instead, they left the court with nothing.
The PIAB process is a double-edged sword because people with exaggerated injuries are sometimes offered money they may not deserve.
The PIAB is an independent government body created to reduce the need for costly litigation for personal injury claims, but it does not have the resources to thoroughly investigate the claims brought before it.
This gap in the process has been noted by those seeking to reform the system. A new law introduced this year now seeks to penalize those who provide false information to PIAB. When the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill 2022 goes into effect, it will allow the board to disclose information about claims made to gardaí to combat fraudulent claims.
The proposed law will also facilitate an increase in the number of personal injury claims that can be resolved through the Committee’s procedure, by allowing it to adjudicate cases of a psychological nature.
Strengthening the powers of the PIAB will do a lot to bring down the cost of personal injury cases, but it remains to be seen whether the law, if passed, will go far enough to weed out suspicious claims.
After all, it has been well over a year since former Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh’s perjury bill was signed into law, but there seems to be a reluctance to use it.
The Galway businessman introduced the bill to discourage fraudsters from lying on insurance claims.
Under the perjury law, insurance fraudsters and anyone who lies under oath face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 euros. It is unclear whether this law has already been implemented.
Despite some of the prevailing issues with PIAB, its report released this week highlighted how things are moving in a positive direction.
The average compensation for claims has fallen significantly since the new personal injury guidelines were introduced last year.
In the first six months of this year, the average premium was EUR 14,786, in 2020 the average premium was EUR 23,877.
There was also a 34 percent drop in the number of personal injury cases filed in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.
The number of people accepting the price of PIAB instead of going to court has also increased to nearly 50 percent.
Activists are now urging insurers to deliver on promises of reduced premiums.
Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of Insurance Ireland, said: “While competition law prevents us from commenting on future prices in the market, we are optimistic about the future of insurance in Ireland.”
Peter Boland, director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, said the challenges of staying open have never been greater in our nation’s recent history for small and medium-sized businesses, volunteer and community groups, charities and sports organizations.
“Of all these challenges, the insurance crisis is the one that comes closest to a government solution. Insurers must act in good faith,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/insurers-run-out-of-excuses-for-high-premiums-as-awards-for-compensation-close-to-15-year-low-42117965.html Insurers are running out of excuses for high premiums as compensation is near a 15-year low