Insurance industry slams delay to legislation aimed at tackling premium costs

Insurance Ireland says the level of awards must be reduced

Insurance industry slams delay to legislation aimed at tackling premium costs

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Representatives of the insurance industry are criticising delays to key reforms aimed at reducing insurance premiums.

Insurance Ireland is warning that a lack of urgency in reforming the sector is costing policy-holders.

The call comes on the second anniversary of the publication of the Cost of Insurance Working Group report – which aimed to address the spiraling cost of motor insurance.

This morning, Insurance Ireland chief executive Kevin Thompson said the proposed reforms of the sector are still incomplete.

“Two years ago we cautioned that the publication of the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report in itself would not reduce costs in the market, but the swift implementation of the right policies would,” he said.

“While much important work has been undertaken since, including the findings of the Personal Injuries Commission which established that the average Irish soft-tissue award is now 4.4 times the UK level, the reform of our cost of claims is incomplete.”

Legislative delays

On Newstalk Breakfast he said there are two main pieces of legislation which must be enacted in 2019 to address premium levels – the establishment of a Judicial Council with new compensation guidelines and a Personal Injuries Assessment Board to improve the claims process.

“These are two key recommendations that actually go to the heart of reducing the level of awards or addressing the level of compensation that we have in this country,” he said.

“It is a lack of urgency unfortunately and we are greatly concerned about it.

“This is really feeding in to be a competitive issue for us here in Ireland.”

Insurance premiums

He said the legislation must be enacted as a matter of urgency – especially as there is now the prospect of further delays as the Government deals with the potential for a no deal Brexit.

“The defining issue in the Irish general insurance market is the cost of claims and policyholders deserve to know when the planned reforms will be completed,” he said.

“Insurance claims reform is a cost of living and competitiveness issue the Government must address in 2019.

“All stakeholders in this process have a responsibility to policyholders to maintain a sense of urgency when it comes to delivering on the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report’s objectives.”

Meanwhile, insurance companies are calling on the Government to move forward with the establishment of the Garda Insurance Fraud Unit.