Cash payouts for whiplash could be ended under proposals to tackle rising car insurace

Car premiums rose by nearly 40% in the year leading up to July

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Cash payouts for whiplash could be abolished, if the junior minister tasked with examining the rising cost of car insurance gets his way.

Minister of State Eoghan Murphy appeared before an Oireachtas Committee earlier to answer questions about his working group on insurance.

The cross-departmental group was set up in July to recommended measures to tackle rising premiums.

The most recent CSO figures show costs shot up by nearly 40% in the year leading up to July.

The insurance industry has apportioned blame for the surge on increases in the level of awards and frequency of compensation.

Mr Murphy told the committee that he would prefer to see claimants with whiplash receive medical expenses rather than a cash lump sum.

"I certainly prefer the care-not-cash model. I don’t think that would be tinkering if we could achieve it," he said.

"The reason why I don't like the model about paying at the fuel pump is that I think it penalises people who drive more.

"It takes the onus off the insurance sector to actually be a part of the reform, and give greater transparency."

The junior minister also hit out at the lack of data on claims provided by insurers.

"I can tell you from some of my informal engagements so far ... that things are not proceeding as quickly as they should be in terms of data development and database development."