Insurance costs: Cabinet approves plan to cut personal injury payouts

Tánaiste says the problem of insurance costs for firms and consumers has to change

Tánaiste  Leo Varadkar said for far too long ‘the cost and availability of insurance has been a problem for businesses, consumers and community and voluntary groups’. Photograph: PA

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said for far too long ‘the cost and availability of insurance has been a problem for businesses, consumers and community and voluntary groups’. Photograph: PA

 

Perjury will be made easier to prosecute and the book of quantum will be replaced with new personal injury award guidelines as part of a plan to tackle insurance costs approved by the Cabinet.

The plan contains 66 actions designed to bring down costs and reduce the pressure on businesses already affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the reform plans, Ministers have agreed to replace the book of quantum with new guidelines on the “appropriate” level of personal injury awards.

They also agreed to enhance the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and to place perjury on a statutory footing, making the offence easier to prosecute.

The Government has decided to “monitor” whether personal injury awards levels need to be capped and to examine dual pricing.

Ministers also agreed to strengthen the enforcement powers of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

A new office will be established within Government to “encourage greater insurance market competition.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar said that “things have to change” when it comes to insurance costs.

“For far too long, the cost and availability of insurance has been a problem for businesses, consumers and community and voluntary groups. Things have to change and I am determined that they should change for the better under this new Government,” he said.

“As we re-open our economy once more, businesses and families will face financial pressures, including that of insurance, and it our intention to alleviate that over the coming period.”

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the insurance industry has a “key role” in helping to reopen the economy and wider society as the country emerges from the pandemic, while Minister for Justice Helen McEntee hailed the plan as ambitious.

“The Perjury and Related Offences Bill will introduce penalties for perjury related offences and there will be enhanced cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the insurance industry to combat insurance fraud,” she said.

Minister of State at the Department of Finance Seán Fleming will next week chair the first meeting of the new cross-departmental office on the topic. The Government will commit to progressing the action plan over an 18 month period.