Justice Minister Helen McEntee has called on the insurance industry to bring down costs of insurance as new guidelines come into force on Saturday week.
It follows a decision by the Cabinet last month approving legal changes on foot of new guidelines on personal injuries drawn up by the Judicial Council.
Ms McEntee said the personal injuries guidelines set out the level of damages that may be awarded and that they will reduce award levels for most categories of personal injuries.
These guidelines will be used by both the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and the courts to assess compensation.
“This is a very significant step in meeting our commitment to make insurance more affordable for consumers, businesses and community groups,” Ms McEntee said.
“The commencement of the personal injuries guidelines should reduce costs, and in time, boost competition in the Irish insurance market.”
She called on the industry to play its part.
The minister said the “overriding concern” of Government was to urgently address the economic impacts of high insurance costs while ensuring fair compensation for people injured through no fault of their own.
She said under the Action Plan on Insurance Reform, the Department of Justice will report on the implementation and early impact of the Personal Injury Guidelines by December 2021.
The minister said the guidelines are required, under the terms of the Judicial Council Act 2019, to be reviewed within three years of being adopted and every three years thereafter.
Minister of State with responsibility for insurance Sean Fleming said the commencement of the guidelines was a “key milestone” in insurance reform and “should have” a positive impact by reducing costs, and in time, boosting competition in the market.
He said he met with the main insurers in Ireland this month to “press the need for premium reductions” in response to the implementation of the guidelines.
He said this would continue to reinforce the trend whereby motor insurance premiums, as measured by the CSO, had reduced by about a third since their mid-2016 peak level.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD said: “The commencement of these guidelines is a really important step in the implementation of our Action Plan for Insurance Reform, the Government’s plan to drive down the cost and increase the availability of insurance for motorists, homeowners, businesses and voluntary groups alike.
"I want to see the reduction in payouts reflected in lower premiums in the near future”.