24th December 2022

Coming to the penultimate show of 2022, the announcement of the Motor Insurer’s profits increasing to € 176 Million for 2021 did merit comment and discussion this morning. 

A € 5 Million increase on the previous year comes on the backdrop of the 3rd report from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) recently published which showed general damages in relation to injury awards down by 44%. Our contributor Seamus Gunn outlined the background to the introduction of the Personal Injuries Board from 2003 UpToDate, the fact that there have been 2 books of Quantum to assist with assessing claims and more recently since April 2021 new guidelines were laid down by the Judicial Council following the 2019 Act. He also referred to further legislation in the pipeline being the Personal Injuries Resolution Bill which is currently progressing through the Oireachtas to further aid PIAB in extending periods of time for assessing claims and also giving them more powers to retain claims of a psychological nature which otherwise were the subject of Authorisations issuing. New measures put in place to curb awards to date have resulted in significant savings by insurers which Greg Hughes said were not being passed on to the consumer. Our contributor referenced examples of public liability insurance skyrocketing over the years for small businesses struggling to keep their doors open and keep people employed while insurers stood to make vast profits. He said that the purpose for which the legislation and PIAB was introduced was to make savings which ultimately were to be passed on to the public. He said that for the period of 2021 it was stated that premiums per policy fell just 2%. However, compared to 2009 the average premium in 2021 was 23% higher. He noted that there was little doubt that claims have reduced significantly since 2009, while there has been no benefit for the consumer. He said that he was of the opinion that it was the victim who is entitled to compensation who is being penalised firstly on awards and secondly on the premiums they were paying where the insurance companies were the benefactors. He thought that the same level of scrutiny should be applied to insurers as has been to the Personal Injury industry. He believed that this merited further attention. Greg Hughes referenced the small population of Ireland compared to the UK from which such profits were being made and also the loading on young drivers. Both host and contributor seemed to be ad idem on the imbalance herein. It shall be interesting to observe if the matter is addressed on the national stage as we approach the year end.

Some news relevant to a new Family Law Division/Court was referred to in the usual lively and varied Q&A that followed. All can be listened to below.