Raising insurance court award limits
Sir, – I am writing on behalf of the non-life insurance company members of the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) regarding John McManus’s article (Business, April 29th).
The article deals with the provisions in the Courts Bill 2013 to increase the jurisdiction limit of the Circuit Court from the current level of €38,092, which was set in 1991, to €60,000 for personal injuries and the limit of the District Court from €6,349 to €15,000. There is a suggestion in the article that insurers may have a vested interest in seeing personal injury awards rise and that this is why insurers have been “surprisingly quiet” about these provisions.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than say insurers were surprisingly quiet on the Government’s plans, it would have been more accurate to say that the IIF quietly and effectively played its part in minimising the increase. The original proposal was to increase the jurisdiction limit of the Circuit Court to €100,000. The IIF wrote to the Minister for Justice last November saying that the IIF is opposed to any increase but that if the Circuit Court limit is to be raised at this time, it should be raised to no more than €50,000. We argued that if the limit was increased too much there would be an inflationary effect on awards. The outcome is that it is proposed to increase the jurisdiction limit of the Circuit Court to €60,000 for personal injuries instead of a possible €100,000.
IIF would hardly have made these representations to the Minister if insurers had a vested interest in seeing awards rise. Unfortunately there is no conspiracy theory. The facts speak for themselves. – Yours, etc,
Chief Executive Officer,
Irish Insurance Federation,