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Drop in injury claims’ costs but premiums rise by 8% – NCID report

By April 4, 2024No Comments

The average cost of settling public and employer liability claims through the Injuries Resolution Board dropped by a third in 2022 compared to 2020, according to a new report.

However, average insurance premiums increased by 8% in 2022.

The data is in the latest National Claims Information Database (NCID), published by the Central Bank.

New personal injuries guidelines were published by the Judicial Council in 2021 to replace the Book of Quantum, which had been used as a guide for settling injury claims.

The guidelines are used by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and the courts to provide consistency in the level of personal injury awards in successful personal injury claims.

However, the bulk of injury claims – 76% – settled in 2022 were done so with reference to the Book of Quantum, the report shows, with the remaining 24% settled under the new guidelines.

The report shows that the average level of compensation through the PIAB mechanism in 2022 ranged from €21,439 for Public Liability to €26,366 for Employer Liability claims.

Legal costs for the PIAB route varied from €1,804 to €1,459 respectively.

The average compensation awarded for a litigated settlement in 2022 ranged from €37,045 for a Public Liability claim to €70,297 for an Employer Liability.

However, legal costs in the litigation route varied from €28,542 in a Public Liability claim to €40,013 in the case of an Employer Liability claim, accounting for the bulk of the award.

“The work of the Board is important for all of us – in society and in business – and provides annual savings to the economy of tens of millions of euros by avoiding the need for expensive and lengthy litigation in personal injury claims,” Minister Dara Calleary said on the report’s publication.

“Using the Board more means that we can achieve quicker outcomes for anyone with an injury, but with a much lower cost overall,” Minister Jennifer Carroll MacNeill pointed out.

“These costs – in particular higher legal costs arising from litigation – are passed on to all consumers in the form of increased premium prices,” she added.

Insurance Ireland said it was “disappointing” to see a continued high level of claims going the litigated route.

“Because of the scale of this, the impact of Personal Injuries Guidelines has yet to be felt,” Moyagh Murdock, CEO of Insurance Ireland, said.

“However, we can see the positive impact on claims settled through both the Injuries Resolution Board route and direct with insurers,” she added.

The report also highlights an 8% rise in the overall average premium for ‘Package policies’ for Public and Employer Liability insurance in 2022.

While representing an increase, it was largely in line with the rate of inflation in that year.

The vast majority – 86% – of EL, PL and Commercial Property insurance policies were taken out via package policies, the report notes.

“As the rate of inflation has since eased, it is my expectation that we will see the same happen in relation to business insurance premiums,” Minister Carrol MacNeill said.

Head of Insurance with Brokers Ireland Hazel Rock pointed out that Employers and Public Liability Insurances have been among the most challenged areas of insurance in Ireland for businesses and community enterprises.

“The area has lacked competition for some time now with several providers exiting the market,” she said.

“This has resulted in many enterprises and community and sporting providers finding it difficult to acquire insurance at all in some cases or get cover at what could be considered a reasonable outlay but Insurance Brokers continue to work with such groups to find innovative solutions to address this lack of competition,” Ms Rock added.

She said the outcome a Supreme Court ruling on the challenge to the constitutionality of the Personal Injuries Guidelines was awaited, as well as the full impact of the recently introduced duty of care legislation rebalancing responsibility more fairly between businesses, clubs and community groups and those who use their services.

The chief executive of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, Brian Hanley, said today’s Central Bank figures show that reforms in the insurance sector are not leading to reductions in premiums or greater access to cover.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Stanley said many businesses are facing significant challenges and it was a “difficult message” for businesses and community groups to accept.

“The size of the effort to reform the insurance industry is reflective of the size of the problem that it and other areas contribute to the cost of doing business,” he said.

He said one of the things we need to see is greater competition in the insurance market, particularly in the liability sectors key.

“While the Government’s office to promote competition has had some success in attracting new underwriters for motor insurance – and we can see the benefits of that, broadly speaking, in our premiums – in the three to four years it has been in place we haven’t seen any new underwriters for liability,” he stated.

“Many organisations and many sectors are dependent on a single insurer,” he added.

Mr Hanley said that while there was no aversion to some profit being made, it was reasonable to ask that some of the benefits and savings made were passed on to business owners.

Article Source – Drop in injury claims’ costs but premiums rise by 8% – NCID report – RTE

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