Dáil debates

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill 2021: Second Stage [Private Members]


6:25 pm

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I support this important legislation from the Regional Group, particularly Deputy Naughten, which is very badly needed. We need insurance reform. I detest fraud and those who commit fraud but I am not the judge and jury. I cannot prove these things and it is often hard to prove fraud. The advertisements run by insurance companies implied people were putting their hands in our pockets and they were very effective. They made people think.

This is not by any manner or means a panacea for fixing the insurance industry. As others have said, insurance is a lucrative business and because some firms have left our market, it is less competitive than it was. I deal with insurance all the time because I am part of a company that employs many people and that has a turnover. Insurance is vital for it but it is very hard to get it. We are given every reason in the book for these companies not dealing with the problem but instead getting as much as they can, in the main, from the people who pay for insurance. I raised yesterday how the Judicial Council is trying to deal with overpayments for small and trivial injuries; it is only tinkering with this and it is not really serious about the matter. We must deal with the judges and legal people, including free legal aid. We must tackle the payouts and provide refresher courses for members of the Judiciary.

This legislation is very important but we need more. It is the same with banks, which have no governing legislation. It is like the Wild West and they can do as they like. The insurance companies are nearly the same. We cannot operate without them. As I said, I have no time for people who defraud these companies but some of the increases in premiums are astronomical. They have put many people out of business. Although it may be difficult to deal with the problem, I support the legislation.


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