Impact of personal injury pay outs on insurance costs for retailers – ‘existential issue’

Impact of personal injury pay outs on insurance costs for retailers – ‘existential issue’

Insurance reform campaigners highlight concerns re personal injury payout guidelines

RGDATA and other insurance reform campaigners remain concerned about the impact of personal injury pay outs on insurance costs after the Judicial Council deferred a decision on new guidelines to February 20.

Media reports suggest that the judges are considering recommending that pay outs are more in line with those in Northern Ireland instead of much lower EU payouts.

This is causing serious concerns amongst campaigners who want an 80% reduction in pay outs for fully recoverable, minor injuries, says RGDATA.

Required reduction in shop insurance costs

“We will not see the required reduction in shop insurance costs to sustainable levels unless we bring the pay outs for very minor, fully recoverable bumps and bruises right down to EU levels. Bringing Irish pay outs in line with those in Northern Ireland will not address this issue and will certainly not deliver the sort of reductions in insurance costs that Irish shops desperately need to stay competitive,” says RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley.

Northern Ireland’s ‘Green Book’

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has expressed serious concerns at reports that the Judicial Council is tending towards the adoption of guidelines that would reflect those in the Green Book, Northern Ireland’s personal injuries guidelines.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, said “Such a development would be unlikely to lead to meaningful reductions in the cost of personal injury claims and hence insurance, unless it came hand-in-hand with wholesale reform of the Irish legal system. Otherwise, using the Green Book as a reference point would be the status quo masquerading as reform.

Eoin McCambridge,  Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The single biggest element of the cost of insurance, as determined by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, the Personal Injuries Commission and the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database, is compensation; and general damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts.

“What we award for minor, fully recovered injuries in Ireland is 4.4 times higher than in England & Wales and further multiples higher than other European jurisdictions. An 80% reduction on minor injuries would only bring us down to where England and Wales currently are and would still be nowhere near the equivalent damages in other European countries – and England and Wales are further slashing their damages for minor whiplash injuries later this year.”

Insurance costs remain an existential issue for Irish SMEs. The Irish economy is not going to recover from Covid-19 through SMEs, or Irish society, unless insurance is sorted.