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Shortcomings in insurance working group

  • Ireland’s damages regime is too generous for minor injuries

ISME, the Irish SME Association today (9th February) expresses its disappointment that the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report (CIWG), published 25th January, came up short when considering capping awards in the Book of Quantum. However, the Association acknowledges that the CIWG has recognised the inconsistent and unpredictable manner in which our Courts Service decides general damages awards. This must be urgently addressed. The Personal Injuries Commission also needs to have a policy-holder’s representative in its membership.

Commenting on the report ISME CEO Neil McDonnell saidAll objective data point to Ireland’s general damages regime being too generous for minor injuries, and our cost of insurance being too high. Despite this, the CIWG report suggests there could be significant constitutional or property rights issues with capping awards. This is simply untrue.”

“The principle that awards for general damages can be capped has been conclusively established in Irish case law and in statute.”

The Association calls on the Minister Darcy to:

  1. Reconsider his Working Group’s views on the constitutionality of introducing caps on general damages.
  2. In addition, ask the Working Group to consider the complete abandonment of general damages for a ‘care not cash’ rehabilitation model, with a constitutional amendment, if necessary.
  3. Immediately appoint a representative for policy holders to the Personal Injuries Commission, as it considers its next report on benchmarking the awards in the Book of Quantum.

He added,

“There is no excuse for not dealing with this issue once the Personal Injuries Commission completes its current deliberations on the size of awards in Ireland. We cannot kick this can down the road with further studies and reports. Policy holders need urgent action now.

ISME’s response to the Working Group is available [HERE]