AIR told the ministers that the previous government had failed to get a grip on the crisis according to a report in the Irish Independent which stated that the “face-to-face meeting” was attended by Tánaiste and Employment Minister Leo Varadkar, Justice Minister Helen McEntee, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath, Junior Trade Minister Robert Troy and Junior Minister With Responsibility For Insurance Reform Sean Fleming.
Those attending the meeting from AIR included Ivan Cooper of the Wheel, the Vintners Federation of Ireland’s Padraig Cribben, Eoin McCambridge of McCambridge’s of Galway, playcentre owner Linda Murray and Alliance Director Peter Boland.
According to the newspaper, “The new Government has increased the focus on insurance reform, which was traditionally the responsibility of a junior minister.”
The last government had failed to exert any downward pressure on premia due to “trenchant resistance” to insurance reform from lawyers and insurers themselves, claimed AIR.
More reports on the issue of insurance reform are not needed, but there was a need for a reduction in the Quantum of General Damages for minor injuries, stated AIR.
“Proper funding” was also required for the Garda response to insurance fraud, stated AIR, adding that insurers must commit to reducing premia once reforms are in place.
Alliance members fully supported moves to reform the Personal Injuries Assessment Board which had been undermined by the success of legal challenges, stated AIR, resulting in only one in five injury claims now being settled through the PIAB.
The government’s lack of support for companies pursuing Business Interruption claims was also raised at the meeting, with AIR stating that it was not aware of any such BI claims being met by insurance companies.
According to the newspaper, “Ministers are understood to have mainly listened rather than making points.
“They told the Alliance they took on board its views and stressed they would work as a ministerial unit on insurance reform.
“A memorandum for Government is to be prepared on the issue.
“In the last Government, former Minister of State Michael D’Arcy set up a working group on insurance reform. But his reform efforts were hindered by a lack of senior ministerial engagement in the issue, business sources say.”
AIR Director and VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, told Drinks Industry Ireland, “To get real reform there needs to be engagement by Government at a serious level and across different departments. This is the first time we’re seeing that co-ordination and commitment. It is now important that the key issues in respect of Quantum of Damages and Duty of Care are delivered on and in a timely fashion”.