The Alliance for Insurance Reform is launching its ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ campaign, calling for an end to unjustifiable personal injury claims that are damaging Irish society. The Alliance recognises the importance of a robust personal injury system to compensate those who have been injured due to the negligence of others in a way that is fair and proportionate. That is why liability insurance is there.
The Alliance also welcomes the commencement of legislation aimed at rebalancing the duty of care between occupiers and the public.
Speaking about the issue, Alliance Board member and CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary O’Connor said, “the legislation rebalances the duty of care in a way that is fair, practical and proportionate. The new legislation will only work if it is implemented in the spirit it was intended by the judiciary, insurers, the legal profession, and ultimately, by the Irish public.”
Too often however, unjustifiable personal injury claims are made where there is no negligence. It is often assumed that these claims are victimless, with insurance companies picking up the bill. The reality is that insurers simply pass the cost on to policyholders – voluntary and community groups, charities, sports and cultural organisations, small businesses and the State – who also spend enormous amounts of time and effort defending such claims.
Alliance Board member and owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole, Tracy Sheridan, said, “every person at one time or another has heard a story of somebody getting compensation and our reaction had been that what happened was entirely their own fault. These awards come at a cost in the form of higher insurance premiums. As a society we need to say ‘stop’, as unwarranted claims are not a victimless pursuit.”
That is one of the main reasons Ireland pays many multiples of other countries in insurance costs and it undermines the fabric of Irish society. This is not sustainable and the road we need to travel is clear:
- Unjustifiable personal injury claims must stop.
- Lawyers must stop facilitating them.
- Doctors and other experts must stop facilitating them.
- Insurers must stop settling them. Settling dubious claims in a stable insurance market may be justifiable, but not in a reforming market like Ireland, where continuing to settle will undermine the reforms.
- The Judiciary must interpret the new legislation in the spirit in which it was intended by the Legislature.
Justice Minister, Helen McEntee, said, “these measures strike a new and reasonable balance between the responsibilities of the owner or operator of a premises to keep their customers and visitors safe, and what individuals themselves must do when entering a business, club or community building for example. The passage of this legislation marks an important step in our efforts to make insurance more available and cheaper.”
From the perspective of voluntary and community groups, charities, sports and cultural organisations as well as small businesses, the message is clear: Enough is Enough!
The Alliance for Insurance Reform brings together 48 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 700,000 employees, 614,000 volunteers and 374,000 students in highlighting the negative impact of persistently high premiums and calling for real reforms that will quickly reduce liability and motor insurance premiums to affordable levels and keep them that way.
Source: Federation of Irish Sport