In an effort to target the recent large increase in insurance premiums in Ireland the Government has taken steps to introduce a commission to review personal injury claims resulting in less serious injuries and soft tissue damage. Irish insurance premiums have increased by up to 70 per cent in the last three years and have had a serious impact on the number of uninsured drivers. The increase in premiums is due to pricing and investment errors by insurance companies as opposed to increase in the average value of claims. The goal is to bring insurance payouts following car crashes and other motor related accidents into line with international standards and will, in turn, result in lower premiums for drivers.
One such claim which has become increasingly popular as well as increasing in value in the last number of years, is claims for whiplash. Whiplash accounts for up to 80 per cent of all motor insurance claims, with payments ranging up to €19,400 for minor cases where there is full recovery within about two years, which is comparable with payment in the UK which is a maximum of €7,600 and for severe whiplash cases, the Irish compensation payments are up to €77,900 while the UK figure is €24,244. However these figures are based on incomplete data as over 70% of all claims are settled privately by insurance companies who have refused to release details of their settlements. In the absence of these statistics it will be difficult for the commission to properly carry out its duties.
The move to set up the new commission is expected to be announced by Minister of State for Finance Eoghan Murphy in the coming weeks following the completion of an official report on tackling the high cost of motor insurance.