Insurance group calls for quick implementation of personal injury legislation

Minister is hopeful new guidelines around claims will be in place before year end

Minister of State Michael D’Arcy says  he does not hold the insurance industry in high regard. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Minister of State Michael D’Arcy says he does not hold the insurance industry in high regard. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

The Alliance for Insurance Reform is calling on the judiciary to speedily implement new legislation which would reset the guidelines around the level of personal injury awards.

Under the Bill, which passed in the Dáil on Thursday, guidelines will be developed by a new committee which will advise a new judicial council, all of which has yet to be established.

Peter Boland of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, a group of 26 business and civic organisations representing 36,000 members, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland programme “no insurance policy will be reduced as a result of what happened yesterday, what happens next is key.”

“The Government needs to move very quickly to establish the judicial council, all that happened yesterday was that legislation made its way through the Dáil. The onus then is on the judiciary to move swiftly in the interest of the common good.”

Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy later told the same programme that the judicial council will be set up “straight away”. He said that while he will not have much control once the judicial council is set up, he has set down a desired timeline schedule and is hopeful that the new guidelines would be in place “within this calendar year.”

Mr Boland explained that under the new format, the judicial council will produce a set of personal injury guidelines which would essentially replace the Book of Quantum to guide judges when they are deciding how much is to be awarded for specific injuries in personal injury cases.

“Ireland is at the top of the table in the world in terms of the amount we give out for minor damages and this is really only about minor injuries and the minor damages to go with them.”

Mr D’Arcy said he is ambitious about “getting this done quickly.

“I’m not doing this so the insurance companies can increase their profits, this is being done to protect consumers.”

The Minister of State with responsibility for insurance, said he does not hold the insurance industry in high regard.

He warned that if insurance premiums are not reduced the Government will take budgetary measures in the form of additional taxes to ensure that insurance companies “don’t pocket all the profits” and that premiums will come down.