9 March 2017 Insurance

Changes to Irish claims laws are not enough, says judge

Underwriters and brokers have been told changes to Irish claims laws are cutting down on fraud and the rising levels of awards, but more needs to be done.

At a packed seminar in the Old Library at Lloyd’s, the Chairman of Ireland's Personal Injuries Commission, Justice Nicolas Kearns, said the issue remained over access to data under the country’s data protection laws.

“There have been moves to set up a data repository of uninsured drivers but it is moving slowly,” he said. “The view from the government is that any repository would need to be under the control of a public body, in this case the police rather than the insurance industry which does not bode well.”

Justice Kearns added: “We need to see better sharing of data in Ireland. Telematics for instance, in vehicles is seen as available to all parties in the UK but it is not the case in Ireland.”

However, he added that knowing about the problem was the first step in developing a solution, “we need clarification of data protection rules and it may require a change in the law.”

He said that Ireland remained behind the curve compared to the UK but that the revised Book of Quantum for accident damages was a step forward for insurers and their policyholders.

Jack O’Brien, partner at law firm O’Brien Lynam, told the seminar that the new book of quantum and the Irish Court of appeal had created a “pincer movement on claimants and the costs of claims.”

“Ireland is seen as a positive place to do business and attractive to insurers,” he added. “Brexit has not been welcomed in Ireland and the concern for many is that the other EU countries will seek to punish the UK and that negative impact will be felt in Ireland given the close relationship between our two countries.”

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