The Cost of Insurance Working Group Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance (the “Report”) covers six main themes and makes 33 recommendations with 71 associated actions. One of the key actions is to provide enhanced guidance with regard to determining compensation for personal injuries claims, through the establishment of a Personal Injuries Commission (the “Commission”).
The former President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, has been appointed as chairperson of the Commission. The purpose of the Commission is to investigate and make recommendations on processes in other jurisdictions, which could enhance the claims process in Ireland. The terms of reference, as set out in the Report, include the commissioning of medical research, benchmarking of international awards for personal injury cases, analysing and reporting on international compensation levels and compensation mechanisms. It is proposed that the Commission’s work will be phased over an 18-month period.
In Ireland, research has shown that whiplash accounts for up to 80% of all motor insurance claims, with payments ranging up to €19,400 for minor cases where there is full recovery within about two years. The comparable payment in the United Kingdom is up to €7,600. Further research indicates that the cost and frequency of motor insurance claims have increased in recent years, which has had a direct impact on motor insurance premiums. The belief in the insurance industry is that if reduced compensation for motor insurance claims is achieved, the number of claims will be reduced, particularly for smaller injuries, and this will have the knock-on effect of reducing the motor insurance premiums payable.
Dervla Beirne is a solicitor on the litigation team at Keating Connolly Sellors. Contact Dervla at [email protected] or call 061 414 355.
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