Government must show more urgency on Duty of Care Reform: RGDATA & AIR

Government must show more urgency on Duty of Care Reform: RGDATA & AIR
Tara Buckley

RGDATA has warned that shop owners are deeply frustrated over the slow pace of reform of Duty of Care as insurance premiums continue to rise.

The group urged Justice officials to publish its Bill or adopt the Draft Bill produced by RGDATA.

Speaking at a meeting with Minister Hildegard Naughton, RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley said shop owners are still not seeing reductions in insurance premiums despite the many reforms carried out to date.

‘Same excuses’

“RGDATA started this campaign back in 2015 and we are still hearing the same excuses. Duty of Care needs to be rebalanced so that it is fairer and more reasonable,” she said.

“This is a key action that will bring down insurance costs and will deliver the lower premiums that our members so desperately need. RGDATA members are still seeing huge increases in insurance premiums despite all the reforms introduced to date,” Buckley told Minister Naughton.

Her comments were echoed by the Alliance for Insurance Reform as it published the results of an survey that shows that insurance premiums continue to rise despite trends in claims costs and recent reforms.

The Alliance has been running the survey since the implementation of new Judicial Guidelines for personal injury awards on April 24 2021.

Increased premiums

It says that following responses from more than 450 individuals and groups, it can reveal that premiums have increased by 15% on average on renewal and hospitality premiums are up another 9% despite a significant drop in the level of activity in the sector.

Member organisation The Wheel found that 45% of charities, voluntary and community organisations responding to its own survey have seen increases of over 10% in their liability insurance

Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The total number of liability-related personal injury claims has reduced by 47% over the 11 years between 2009 and 20192 and a further 16% last year. PIAB has just announced a 40% reduction in average personal injury awards. The Perjury Act has been commenced.

‘Plummeting risk’

“The Garda Insurance Fraud Coordination Office has been opened. Economic and social activity has been slashed for the last 19 months.  And to further reduce future risk, insurers are excluding Covid-19 from many policies on renewal. The risk associated with each and every insurance premium has plummeted in the last year and a half.”

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said: “It is clear that the incumbent insurers cannot be relied upon to pass on savings. Government must act now to improve competition by getting additional underwriters into the market as a matter of extreme urgency. They must ensure that insurers hold firm on the new Judicial Guidelines rather than settling at higher rates to clear claims. And they must rebalance the duty of care in a way that is fair, reasonable, practical, proportionate and in the public interest; reform PIAB in a meaningful way; and get a publicly-owned fraud database established. Ultimately, they must ensure that all the savings being made are passed on to consumers so that Ireland gets affordable insurance right now and in the long term.”