The director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, Peter Boland, has welcomed a new report from the Law Reform Commission about legislation that would put a cap on personal injury insurance claims.
The guidelines being prepared by the Judicial Council will eventually replace the Book of Quantum, which is produced by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, and to which judges currently have to have regard when deciding on general damages.
The new system is likely to continue to involve a “cap” on personal injury awards of €500,000 for the most catastrophic of cases - a figure that can be exceeded if a court believes exceptional circumstances justify such a move.
The report was timely, Mr Boland told RTÉ radio’s, as the country was in the middle of an insurance crisis.
“We will never survive Covid unless we get insurance costs down.”
Personal injury pay-outs in Ireland are 4.4 times higher than in the UK, he added.
The problem was with “paracetamol injuries” which included bruising but were receiving payments of €20,000, such pay-outs were not sustainable and the country could not afford to continue paying out such money for minor injuries.
There were two routes the Law Reform Commission could take – via the judiciary or the Oireachtas, he said. There was a Plan B, the Oireachtas could legislate for change along the lines of the specific model outlined by the Law Reform Commission.
Plan B was there if the judiciary “does not step up to the plate,” he said.
The report was “very good news for policyholders” said Mr Boland.