Our ongoing 1-Minute Survey continues to confirm what it has from the beginning in May 2021.
Motor insurance is dropping while Liability cover continues to increase in cost by an average of 16%.
So, despite all the ongoing progress on insurance reform, it remains to be seen whether we will get
affordable liability insurance now or in the long term.
There are plenty of significant reforms happening at the moment, but they are all subject to terms
Damages for personal injuries as assessed by PIAB have been reduced by an average of 42% by the
new Judicial Guidelines. But the Guidelines have been subjected to a raft of constitutional
challenges. The two lead challenges have been rejected by the High Court, but both have been
appealed to the Court of Appeal with judgements expected in the first half of 2023.
Additionally, we have no clear view of how individual judges will implement the Guidelines, although
the first few cases to reach the Circuit Court have reportedly seen damages well in excess of the
Judicial Guidelines being awarded. We expect insurers to appeal these decisions to the High Court
and await developments.
Positive legislation to rebalance the duty of care has been proposed by Minister McEntee. We have
welcomed this proposed legislation but asked that the responsibility of parents and guardians be
specifically written into it and that an indictive list of sectors in which a voluntary assumption of risk
might be applied be included. Ultimately, speed is of the essence in getting this legislation enacted
and commenced and we expect this to happen before the end of 2022.
The reform of PIAB is being progressed through the Personal Injuries Resolution Board Bill, now
being managed by Dara Calleary as Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise. This will
broaden the type of claims PIAB can handle and will allow for mediation, to avoid cases progressing
to litigation. The Bill is at second stage in the Dáil this week and we expect it to be commenced
In addition, the Garda Insurance Fraud Coordination Office is up and running, the Perjury Act has
been commenced and the Insurance Ireland claims database is now on a new, more openly available
footing. And we expect ongoing progress on the capping of legal fees and defamation legislation.
But none of this will benefit us in the long term unless more competition is brought into the Irish
insurance market, premiums are reduced, and affordable cover becomes more widely available. The
Minister of State responsible for this, Sean Fleming, reports that he is working with the IDA to attract
additional insurers in order to make the liability market competitive now and in the long term, but
we have not seen any results from that process as yet.
Peter Boland, 3rd October 2022.
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