Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Business Insurance: Motion [Private Members]
Like other speakers, I thank Deputy Michael McGrath for bringing this motion before the House today. I do not doubt the sincerity of the Minister of State, Deputy D'Arcy, but there are a few things we could do to try to get the issue resolved. The first is to tackle insurance fraud. There are no significant penalties for fraudsters. We see cases thrown out every week but, unfortunately, those cases cost €50,000 or €60,000 and nobody is responsible other than the insurance company or the State. We must also establish a judicial council to compile guidelines for general damages relating to personal injuries. That should be done straight away.
We should also establish a publicly funded anti-fraud unit in An Garda Síochána. In addition, we should set up a business insurance premium index that would track prices over time and see exactly what is happening. There is no proof, as we cannot access figures and we do not know what is going on.
Another con job is ongoing that we should be able to deal with concerning returning emigrants. Last week somebody came to my office who had a full licence and a no-claims bonus in this country for 13 years. The person went to England for six years and had a no-claims bonus there during that time but was told they must start at the very top of the scale again. The quote they received for motor insurance was €4,500. That is happening every day and affects many people. We want people to come back to create employment and such people are being affected in that way all the time.
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board, PIAB, was set up in 2008 by Fianna Fáil and at the time it made a lot of difference. Insurance costs came down as a result of it, but over time the effect has worn off. The legal profession did not encourage it at the time. Previously, up to 80% of insurance cases were dealt with by the board but I understand the rate has reduced to approximately 30%. We need to give PIAB more teeth, power and resources to deal with insurance cases.