March 4, 2020
PIAB must be strengthened as legal costs take up 40 percent of settlement costs in the Courts – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has called for the Personal Injuries Assessment Board to be strengthened, after recently published data by the Central Bank underpinned the first report of its National Claims Information Database last year.

Speaking today, Deputy Doherty said:

“Data published on Monday by the Central Bank have offered greater insight into the claims and settlement process for motor insurance. This is a welcome development. It is essential that the National Claims Information Database publishes similar data for public and employer liability in 2020, to ensure the Dáil has the information it needs to further reform the insurance market.

“While December’s report by the Central Bank laid bare the insurance industry’s price-gouging of consumers, yesterday’s data clearly shows that the big winner in the courts is the legal industry.

“The data shows that while compensation for claimants in the courts compared to through the Personal Injuries Assessment Board has varied little from 2015 to 2018, legal costs rose considerably for settlements that reached the courts.

“For example, in 2018 the average compensation for a settlement made in the courts was only marginally higher than one made through PIAB. In comparison, legal costs were more than 17 times higher in the courts than in PIAB, comprising nearly 40 percent of the total cost.

“Since 2015, legal costs have swallowed up almost 40 percent of the total cost of settlements in the courts, compared to 3 percent through PIAB.

“Cases which reach the courts, while benefitting the legal industry, offer little for claimants. 

“It is clear that the role and functions of PIAB must be strengthened, both to guarantee better outcomes for policyholders and to reduce legal costs, which are ultimately passed on to consumers.

“Sinn Féin will continue to hold insurance companies and the legal industry to account while standing up for consumers.”

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