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Peter Boland: Irish insurance industry a ticking time-bomb

The Irish insurance industry is a ticking time-bomb is the claim of the director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform.

Peter Boland says that excessive awards are in danger of causing permanent damage to Irish society as businesses and playgrounds will close, trees will be cut down and local authorities will not be able to carry out work.

He told Newstalk Breakfast that while this is a complex issue “the solutions are simple.”

The Alliance for Insurance Reform is a representative group formed with the objective of reducing insurance costs in Ireland to sustainable levels. The group consists of a wide range of civic, sporting and small business bodies as well as individual businesses.

Mr Boland called for the immediate setting up of a Garda Insurance Fraud Unit. “It is a basic requirement that needs to be put in place.”

The Irish Book of Quantum is “way above” the UK and the rest of Europe. “It needs to be reduced for smaller scale injuries. There is a need for genuine and proportionate compensation.”

Finally, he called for a public schedule of the savings from the work that is being done. “We want a scheme from the Government on what we are saving from what is being done.”

He pointed out that road safety is much improved while roads and cars are much better, yet there continues to be “huge increases” in motor insurance.

How much would be saved by a Garda Insurance Fraud Unit?

Mr Boland said that the root of the issue is decades of neglect. Ireland is massively out of sync with the UK, which in turn is out of sync with Europe. Ireland’s awards are four and a half times higher than those in the UK, he said.

“Lots of jurisdictions in Europe don’t recognise whiplash as a legitimate injury or offer awards for it.

“Things can get out of control where there is no reasonable oversight.”

Mr Boland warned that businesses might not set up because they cannot afford insurance costs.