Supermacs speak out on insurance issues
Supermacs – one of Ireland’s most successful fast food chains and owner/operators of the Plaza Group – a leading independent motorway and primary route service company, has recently posted a blog on its website, voicing frustration over various insurance issues – a topic that has long since plagued the sector, and is being tirelessly tackled by organisations such as RGDATA and the CSNA.
“Following on from Personal Injury cases that were settled recently by the insurance company without our consent or approval, we feel the need to raise a couple of key questions in relation to how these cases are dealt with by insurance companies, legal firms, and courts” the statement opened and went on to detail the various concerns.
“Why would an Insurance Company settle a case where there was compelling evidence to win the case?” the Supermac’s blog reads. “In particular, we had a report from a very highly regarded Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon who stated ‘My impression is that there is no evidence that I can find of any injury consistent with what this person describes. There is nothing objective to find on examination and (the) MRI scan is normal. I suspect once this medicolegal claim is finished, this person’s symptoms will improve‘. How can this be allowed to be settled? How is it fair or even reasonable that a Defendant with such a strong case was still not let in to fight this matter in court.
“Is it that, according to the legal team representing the insurance company, the decision was based on the reputation of the Judge who is presiding as opposed to basing the decision on the strength of the case itself? The legal team advised us that he was a ‘Santa Claus’ judge and would be favourable towards the claimant. It was therefore advised that we should settle and that the case shouldn’t be brought to court.
“It is our opinion that cases are decided on the basis of who can pay the legal costs. We also note that cases are increasingly being taken in the higher courts when, based on the awards, they should be under the jurisdiction of the lower courts. It is our opinion that this also is being done in order to achieve higher legal costs and that the interests of the legal profession are being well looked after.”
Questions need answered
“In the same vein discussing costs, why does it seem preferential to the Insurance Company and the legal team to advise and suggest that a matter be settled instead of fighting it? Is it down to the fact that if a Defendant was to win a case that there would perhaps be a very high likelihood that the claimants legal teams’ costs may not be paid? It seems clear that the system is designed to always pay its own club members and, once again, it is the policyholders that foot the bill for it all.
“Why has there been a huge increase in psychological injuries in the last number of years? Is it because the legal profession has manipulated PIAB (which will not assess psychological injuries) to ensure their matter can only be heard in Court therefore ensuring higher legal costs for themselves?
“Why is the Government endlessly procrastinating about reforming PIAB? It is clear that PIAB needs to be reformed immediately to its original position as the ultimate arbitrator of Personal Injuries in Ireland. While the Government argues that it is making vast changes none of these are being reflected in the premiums being paid by businesses and in the awards being handed down in Personal Injuries cases. Is this down to the fact that the legal lobbying within the Government is stronger than their urge to reform the system?
“While this is allowed to continue, businesses will continue to pay higher premiums than our European counterparts, making Irish businesses less competitive in the increasingly challenging economic.”