Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on the insurance industry to immediately slash premiums for consumers in line with the 50 percent reduction in personal injury awards since the new Personal Injuries Guidelines came into effect.
The Donegal TD called on the Government to remove the 9 month delay it placed on Sinn Féin’s Judicial Council (Amendment) Bill which would have held the insurance industry to account and pressured them to reduce premiums in line with the reduced cost of claims.
Speaking this morning, Teachta Doherty said:
“I welcome preliminary data from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board which shows that the average personal injury award has fallen by 50 percent.
“This is a clear result of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines which came into effect on 24th April.
“We now see a significant reduction in the cost of claims for insurance companies.
“This must now be met with an immediate reduction in insurance premiums reflecting, euro for euro, the reduction in personal injuries awards.
“A survey by Sinn Féin has found that 58 percent of respondents who received their renewal since the new guidelines came into effect actually saw their premiums increase.
“Only 22 percent saw their premiums fall.“These Guidelines were not adopted to prop up the profit margins of insurance companies but to reduce insurance costs for motorists, businesses and voluntary groups.
“On 21st April I introduced the Judicial Council (Amendment) Bill which would require the industry to report how it has, or has not, passed these savings onto consumers to the Central Bank for each of the next four years.
“This would have allowed the Dáil to hold the industry to account, similar to regulations adopted in Britain in response to a reduction in whiplash awards.
“The Government decided to let the industry off the hook by delaying my Bill for nine months for narrow party political reasons.
“This served the interests of the industry and undermined the interests of consumers.
“I would therefore urge the Government to reverse course, remove the delay on my Bill, and provide the Dáil with a tool to hold the industry to account.
“While data from PIAB confirms that the Personal Injuries Guidelines are working, they will only serve their purpose if every euro in personal injury award reductions is passed onto the consumer.
“That is what we must now see.”