Road safety reform ‘key to cutting insurance cost’

ACHIEVING a higher level of road safety is one of the key ways to cut car insurance premiums, according to the Irish Insurance Federation (IIF).

And cutting the cost of personal injuries claims would also result in cheaper cover for motorists, federation spokesman Martin Long said yesterday.

Both reforms remain to be put in place by the Government, which has responsibility for acting on the recommendations issued by the Motor Industry Advisory Board in April 2002.

“Of the 67 MIAB recommendations these two are undoubtedly the most important in order to reduce the cost of premiums,” Mr Long said.

The MIAB called for legislation to tackle the “compensation culture” that would require those claiming compensation to swear an affidavit. This would mean if any part of their claim was later found to be without foundation or exaggerated, they would lose the entire claim.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell has pledged legislation on the issue later this year. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board also expected to be established under legislation later this year, would offer an alternative to litigation for establishing damages where liability was not in dispute.

A dedicated traffic corps with sufficient resources to detect offences was also recommended by the MIAB, as was random breath testing and a full speed camera programme embracing all the State. It also called for a review of speed limits nationwide.

The MIAB also recommended a “book of quantum” be developed to ensure consistency of awards for personal injuries throughout the State.

IIF says a new road safety strategy could cut claim costs by 10%. Each car insurance policy would cost €272.75 less if 25% was knocked off the cost of total claims met by the industry.

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