A queue of legislative reforms in the area of insurance and compensation has formed, which would resolve a number of current insurance issues, but these may be further delayed by a “perceived reluctance” on the part of the government to fast-track insurance reform according to Peter Boland of the Alliance for Insurance Reform.
“Minister Michael D’Arcy has been back-peddling for the last few weeks on moving forward legislation to set up a Garda unit to tackle insurance fraud” he told Drinks Industry Ireland, “and it’s one measure that would make a serious statement. We seem to be going in reverse on this.”
He added that, “Initially we were told that there was not sufficient support for this in-House, then it became a funding issue, but the insurance industry had offered to fund it – however this was knocked on the head by the Garda Commissioner.”
He also rejected any idea that there was a lack of funds to finance such a unit: “There’s €17.5 million sitting in the PIAB fund,” he claimed, “More recently the Minister has raised the reservations of Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to the funding model, essentially saying that it’s not going to happen now – happy days for scammers!”
The decision has left him “gobsmacked”.
He concluded that while lots of meetings, reports and consultations had been taking place, “… actual actions are not happening.
“The use of the Judicial Council to reduce award levels is one of the flagship proposals of the Personal Injuries Commission.
“The final report was published by the Personal Injuries Commission in July and it was a good report,” says Peter Boland, “It was fully endorsed by us and was adopted by the government in its entirety. One of the key recommendations was that the judicial council, which was being established by the government, would set the figures for a new Book of Quantum.
“Research by the PIC has shown minor soft tissue injuries compensation here to be 4.4 times higher than in the UK. But legislation on this hasn’t been enacted by the government which is now talking about an ‘interim judicial commission’.”
Peter Boland doesn’t necessarily disagree with that “… if it gets the job done”.
He pointed out too though that the Book of Quantum is due to be revised this November “… and we need to get the judicial commission in place in order to do that properly. But again there seems to be a delay on this and we’re concerned that it will be further delayed.
“Overall there would certainly appear to be a lot of legislation lined up and ready to go but nothing of value has been enacted at this stage.
“There’s now a serious concern that for all the bluster in this area we’ll end up with no real reform at the end of the day.
“The big message is that further delays are bad for business big time,” he concluded.