One in three people think Irish personal injury claims process is unfair, poll finds – The Irish Times

One in three Irish adults believe the personal injury claims process is unfair, due to the number of fraudulent claims and excessive compensation amounts, a new opinion poll carried out on behalf of the Injuries Resolution Board has revealed (IRB).

Two thirds of those surveyed believe claims are made for genuine reasons, but four in 10 believe claims are made because they are easy to obtain and because of their value. Some 54 percent said they were unsure whether the process was fair, 13 percent considered it fair and 33 percent unfair.

About half of respondents believe the claims process, including legal fees, has an impact on insurance costs, with half of respondents experiencing premium increases in 2023 and 2024, and only 10 percent noting a decrease.

Carried out for the IRB by Amárach Research among 1,000 adults last month, the poll found that almost one in four adults reported being injured in an accident, but only one in three of them, representing around 13 percent of the population, requested compensation. complaints. People aged over 55 were significantly more likely to have been in an accident and to have filed a claim.

Most said the reason they accepted claims was to compensate for harm or loss, while 20 percent attributed it to attorney advertising.

The survey was released Thursday at a conference marking 20 years of the board, formerly known as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. Attended by delegates including the National Claims Agency, lawyers, insurers, insurance reform campaigners and business groups, the conference heard from government ministers, international experts and Irish to discuss the impact of reforms in the field of personal injury and the challenges and opportunities for the future.

Rosalind Carroll, CEO of the Injury Resolution Board, said the board awarded €170 million in compensation last year, a drop of almost €100 million on the 2019 figure. more cases of fatal and more serious injuries were being brought before the commission, and it was important not to lose sight of the personal impact of the claims, she said.

Key changes that have altered the personal injury landscape include court-approved guidelines in 2021, significantly reducing awards for mainly minor injuries, and the council’s new claims mediation service, he said. she declared.

Since its creation in 2004, the commission has processed more than 500,000 compensation requests, assessed 180,000 claims and awarded more than €4 billion to injured parties. Because more than €2.2 billion in compensation was accepted, these claims were not entered into the litigation system, resulting in savings of more than €1 for parties to the claims and policyholders. .1 billion euros.

Ms Carroll said the saving of €1.1 billion on what would otherwise be spent on litigation costs was something the board was “incredibly proud of”, as the cost of insurance affected the life of everyone.

She said the commission strives to help aggrieved parties and respondents resolve claims fairly, using the same guidelines as the courts in a non-adversarial environment that also has benefits for society.

Dr Lauren Swann, head of research and policy at the Injury Resolution Council, said the council’s data for 2023 showed it had received more than 20,263 claims, an increase of 10% on 2022, but 30% lower than the 2019 figure. It awarded 9,144 awards, an increase of 13 percent from 2021, with an acceptance rate of 48 percent.

The average award value was €18,537, up from €15,857 in 2022, but 23% lower than the average 2020 award assessed under different guidelines.

In a speech at the conference, Minister of State for Business Regulation Dara Calleary said the government’s insurance reform programme, which included 66 actions aimed at making the Irish insurance sector more competitive and more user-friendly, was “largely completed” with the introduction of new taxes. health care legislation last year, but the work of government and all stakeholders must continue.

He said that instead of taking the costly route of litigation, more than a third, or 37 percent, of workers’ compensation claimants have opted to have their claims mediated by the IRB under of its mediation service launched in December. The mediation service was extended to third party liability claims this week and will be available for motor claims by the end of this year.

Minister of State for Insurance Neale Richmond said insurers have a responsibility to reflect in their premiums the impact of savings on personal injury awards resulting from the reforms. Legal costs relating to personal injury claims also needed to be monitored “and greater efficiency implemented”.