AIR has also welcomed the sense of urgency in the Cabinet’s approval of plans by the Minister of Justice to implement the new guidelines.
“Now it’s time for insurers to outline very clearly how they intend to reduce premiums to reflect these developments,” said Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance.
Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole in Dublin and director of the Alliance, added, “Insurers have repeatedly and consistently maintained to the Cost of Insurance Working Group, the Personal Injuries Commission, the Oireachtas Finance Committee and elsewhere that the cost of claims drives premium costs. This analysis has been verified by the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database Private Motor Insurance Reports”.
The changes implemented by the Judicial Council and accelerated by Government should mean that the risk associated with every policy will reduce sharply.
“This must be immediately reflected in renewals for motor and liability insurance cover,” she urged.
Eoin McCambridge, Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway, also and Director of the Alliance, said that the Government must act robustly if necessary to ensure that the gains from the Judicial Guidelines and the Cabinet decision are passed on immediately and in full by insurers.
“Any delays or half-hearted measures will undermine the credibility of the reform process,” he stated, “Furthermore, if insurers do not deliver on the reasonable expectations of policyholders, Government must legislate to monitor and hold them to account in the way that the UK authorities recently have with insurers there, following reforms.”
Getting insurance costs down means cutting the general damages paid out for minor, fully-recovered injuries to reflect international norms. AIR has written to An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in his role as Chair of the Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform, asking Government to take control of the process and cap general damages such that damages for minor injuries are reduced by an average of 80% compared to the previous Book of Quantum guidelines. “Equally, the commitment to reform of PIAB and the rebalancing of the duty of care must now be accelerated,” Peter Boland concluded, “It must be remembered that. But in the meantime, insurers must act in good faith on the progress already made.”