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ISME reacts to PIAB report on personal injury awards

12th April 2022: Members of the Irish SME Association (ISME) have reacted with interest to the release of Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) figures which show that personal injury awards have fallen by 42% since the introduction of new injury guidelines earlier this year.

While Irish awards remain significantly out of line with those in peer countries, the lowering of awards should be impacting public liability and employers’ liability insurances.

According to Central Bank figures, the cost of awards in compensation makes up about 42% of the typical motor insurance premium. With the awards reductions noted by PIAB, we would therefore expect an 18% reduction in premiums.

Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME said: “While motor insurance costs have declined from their peak in recent years, businesses have yet to see similar reductions in public and employer liability premiums.

At the same time, small business owners find it most disquieting that while public liability insurance remains so expensive, or not available at all, Irish insurance brokers are being snapped up by foreign private equity firms for multiples of eight to ten times earnings.”

Neil McDonnell continued: “The figures simply do not add up and furthermore, they suggest that underwriters are cherry-picking sections of the liability market. A great deal of work has yet to be done on occupiers’ liability and on legal costs, but reductions in awards levels have improved the risk profile of Irish businesses. We hope, and indeed expect, to see their business insurances fall promptly as a result.”