Cost of public liability claims is under review

Financial Services Minister Eoghan Murphy has said there is room for the Law Society and small businesses to work together to identify the costs of public liability claims.

Mr Murphy said work is now underway focusing on public liability insurance claims after the publication of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance in January.

Some SMEs may be handling their own claims and are “self-insuring”, which could increase the liabilities small businesses face in the future, he said.

Working with the Law Society and small businesses could also help to produce figures that also reveal the level of fraudulent injury claims, the minister said .

Shops, hoteliers and guest house owners have long complained about the high costs of public liability insurance. The second phase of examining insurance costs involves employer liability insurance and public liability insurance.

The review includes investigating the collection of data on personal injury claims and assessing the effects on businesses, as well as the level of fraudulent claims.

Meanwhile, the minister said there has been “substantial” progress made in implementing the 33 recommendations in the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance. In an update to the Oireachtas Finance Committee, the minister said a working group with Insurance Ireland was meeting regularly.

The reports’ recommendation that insurers set out their reasons for large premium hikes was under discussion, while the Government plans to amend legislation that will oblige insurers to provide more information on premium costs.

A recommendation to set up a national claims database and the establishment of indices to measure claims is underway.

“The key metrics are seen as a stepping stone to the establishment of the national claims information database next year,” according to the update sent to the committee.

The new Personal Injuries Commission has had its first meeting, while the Personal Injuries Assessment Board has met with the Courts Service to explore the possible involvement of the judiciary in reviews of the Injuries Board Book of Quantum on valuations.

Work has started on establishing a fraud database on ways to share information with the gardaí.

The recommendation to extend the renewal notifications for consumers from 15 to 20 days has involved the Central Bank, and a public consultation is proposed to take place in the final three months of the year.

The update to the committee says that the Finance Department is monitoring the potential for insurance to be provided across EU borders.

However, the European Commission’s upcoming Green Paper on retail financial services will likely not promote cross-border insurance amid “a lack of appetite from European consumers”.

Following the collapse of insurance companies based in other EU member states, the update says the commission is reviewing the supervision and enforcement of rules for insurers selling across EU borders.

On the recommendation in the motor report that returning emigrants are treated in a consistent manner, the update says that Insurance Ireland is already examining the treatment by insurers. Work is also continuing to ensure policy holders are informed before claims are settled.


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