THERE is a landslide of support amongst the Irish public for a major overall in the way insurance compensation claims are assessed in our courts system, with eight-in-10 survey respondents favouring a marked reduction in the amounts awarded. The same consumer survey which was carried out by IReach and commissioned by CFM Group, insurance brokers for businesses throughout the country, found that 4 in 10 of the 1,000 respondents are confident they know someone who has made a false or exaggerated claim in the past.
The CFM Group Compo Survey revealed:
Women are more in favour of capping compensation payments – 85% vs 76% of men
Older people are much more likely to favour a cap on compensation – 91% of those over 55 feel this way, compared to 60% of those in the 18-24 age bracket
People in Connacht/Ulster are more likely to be in favour of a cap 86%, compared to 76% of people in Dublin
More men say that they know for sure that someone has made a false claim – 23% vs 16% of women
Those in the 18–24 age bracket are far more likely to say they know someone who has made a claim that wasn’t wholly truthful – 63% compared to the national average of 40%
Jonathan Hehir, Managing Director of CFM Group commented on the findings: “This survey gives weight to our calls, as the vast majority of people want to see changes. The crux of the matter is, the higher the cost of claims, the higher the premium the business or employer is charged.
“For a long time now, we have been calling for a complete review of the Book of Quantum and while the Government plans to replace it with new guidelines on the ‘appropriate’ level of personal injury awards, there is no specific commitment to reduce the award amounts. This is disappointing as this inaction does nothing to address the soaring, and often prohibitively expensive, public and employer liability insurance premiums Irish businesses are facing into every year”.
CFM Group contend that insurance claimants who are back playing five-a-side or running 10km runs just 2/3 weeks following injuries should be paid “proportionate” levels of compensation – specifically, just enough to cover any medical costs & loss of earnings – but no more.
Explaining their position Mr Hehir said:
“We all bruise, cut or scrape ourselves over the course of our daily lives – most of the time we don’t even give it a second thought – unless perhaps we have to bandage a cut or perhaps put an ice pack on a leg. However, once the opportunity to apportion blame to a business or employer comes into the equation these minor injuries can take on a much larger form and the lure of “easy” financial compensation can prove too tempting for some people.”