The Alliance for Insurance Reform, the group which brings together representative bodies from the not-for-profit, charity, sports and small and medium-sized business sectors across Ireland, has presented a suite of practical measures to tackle crippling insurance premiums to a hearing of the Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

The Alliance, including the VFI as a founding member, comprising of 20 civic and business representative organisations from across Ireland, represented by 35,000 members, over 633,000 employees and 41,300 volunteers, was formed this year in response to the spiralling cost of business insurance and the impact this is having on the viability of businesses, sporting organisations, festivals and charities.

The proposals cover areas of prevention, consistency and transparency in how liability and motor insurance claims are addressed including a call for an automatic referral to the Gardaí for prosecution for a plaintiff that knowingly gives or adduces evidence that is false or misleading in a personal injury claim. Other proposals include a call for a Garda insurance fraud unit to be established immediately; regulation of claims harvesting websites, also known as ambulance chasers; and a requirement for judges to set out detailed reasoning for payouts on injury claims which are in excess of the general guidelines.

Peter Boland, spokesperson for the Alliance, said:

“Excessive insurance premiums are pushing Irish businesses and civic organisations to the brink and efforts for reform have been halted by vested interests including the legal profession and insurance industry. The Alliance for Insurance Reform has come together as a group to set out practical, achievable steps to reduce spiralling costs for our members. Since the launch of the Alliance, we have met with the Minister and numerous state bodies and officials and yet no progress is visible. If this Committee wants to have a real impact on sharply rising business costs, then it must act on our proposals with a sense of urgency.”

The Alliance for Insurance Reform is also calling for:

  • The Statute of Limitations on personal injury claims be reduced from two years to one year
  • Change to the approach in calculating the Book of Quantum
  • Reinstate the Blue Book, the former insurance statistics publication
  • Individualised explanations to policy-holders for how premiums are settled
  • Notification to policyholders about the progress of claims against them
  • National Claims Information Database be given to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and not The Central Bank