Frustration for the Alliance for Insurance Reform as two years on still no progress made on proposed Garda Fraud Unit
Hard-pressed insurance policyholders have reacted with intense frustration to the confirmation during yesterday’s 2-hour long debate on insurance in the Dáil, that plans to establish a long-proposed Garda Insurance Fraud Unit have made no progress. Additionally, the Minister with responsibility for insurance, Michael D’Arcy, announced that a previous plan to rapidly address the disproportionate scale of damages for minor, fully recovered personal injuries by way of an ad hoc judicial committee has been abandoned in favour of legislation establishing a full Judicial Council; legislation that is before the Seanad but has made no progress whatsoever since November 2017.
Alliance director and play centre owner Linda Murray commented: “This Garda Unit has been Government policy, through the Cost of Insurance Working Group, for over two years now. It has been planned in meticulous detail by An Garda Siochana but has already been delayed by a year-long cost-benefit analysis and a pointless debate over how it should be funded. Meanwhile play and activity centres all over Ireland deal with exaggerated and misleading claims with no help from the State and are closing down at a rate of one a week as their insurance premiums rocket.”
Eoin McCambridge, Alliance director and MD of McCambridges shop and restaurant in Galway said “The scale of general damages for very minor, fully recovered soft tissue injuries is promoting a claims culture in Ireland. The Departments of Justice and Finance and the Judiciary have wasted six months since the publication of the Personal Injuries Commission final report working out a framework to review and reform the Book of Quantum that sets those damages. In the meantime, thousands of additional personal injury claims have been lodged, many of them encouraged by the enormous sums of money to be made out of so-called ‘paracetamol injuries'”.
Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “We now wonder whether the Government is serious about insurance reform at all. Over 30 members of the Alliance, all policyholders facing enormous premium increases for their businesses and voluntary groups, spent yesterday afternoon in Dáil Éireann listening to a debate between the Minister responsible for insurance, Michael D’Arcy and the opposition, on a motion tabled by Michael McGrath of Fianna Fáil.
“We heard no news of real progress from the Minister. Increasingly, there is evidence to suggest that insurance reform is not a priority for the Government despite the damage insurance costs are causing to communities, charities, sporting organisations, arts groups and small businesses all over the country. This is an issue the Alliance and its 36,000 member organisations and their 639,000 employees will be pressing hard in the run-up to local elections in May.”
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