PIAB records slight fall in motor insurance claims

Decrease part of broader 2.8 per cent decline in claims handled by State body in 2017

Motor insurance claims lodged last year were down by 5.1 per cent on 2016

Motor insurance claims lodged last year were down by 5.1 per cent on 2016

 

The number of motor insurance claims filed with the Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB) last year dropped by just over 5 per cent, the first fall in eight years, according to new figures released on Friday.

That decrease was part of a broader 2.8 per cent decline in claims handled by the State body, as compared to 2016.

The board was established to speed up the handling of claims in all personal injury cases and, where possible, to cut out the need for litigation and related legal costs.

Its latest round of results show that motor insurance claims lodged last year were down by 5.1 per cent on 2016; public liability claims fell by 3.5 per cent, but employer liability claims increased by 7.5 per cent.

Responding to the latest figures on motor claims, Insurance Ireland, the representative ogranisation, said it marked the first reduction in awards made by PIAB since 2010.

“However, this is still at an extremely high level. In 2010 there were 6,205 awards, in 2017 there were 9,076,” it said.

“We need to urgently reform our claims environment in Ireland and the speedy introduction of the PIAB legislation is one way to do this.”

Those seeking to make a personal injury claim write to the board, which in turn writes to the person, or insurance company, against whom the claim is being filed. They have the option to accept or reject the involvement of the PIAB in assessing the claim and making a recommendation on damages.

When that recommendation is made, the person or insurance company being sued again as the option to accept or reject, as does the party making the claim. In those cases, it can proceed to the High Court.

While the PIAB, as an initial point of contact in the process, offers a valuable insight into the number of claims made, some are settled between parties before the board is even involved. There is no data on the number or value of those claims.

Motor claims accounted for 72 per cent of last year’s awards.

In total, 33,114 claims were made last year, down on 34,056 in 2016.There were 12,663 awards down from 12,966. The total value last year was €315 million, with the highest single award of €605,000.

The majority, just over half, were for less than €20,000. A third were for between €20,000 and €38,000 and just 13 per cent represented awards of up to €100,000. The average value had increased slightly from €24,305 in 2016 to €24,879 in 2017.

This, said the board, reflects the nature and severity of the cases assessed during the year.

The PIAB was partly established to reduce the amount of time claimants had to wait for their claims to be processed. Before its existence, all disputed claims had to make their way through the High Court and could take up to five years.

Today, with many cases settled by the PIAB, those that progress to the High Court are estimated to take up to three years. The average length of time for a PIAB claim is just over seven months.