The Irish Government on the 8th December 2020 published its Action Plan for Insurance Reform, this being the first Action Plan on Insurance Reform.

This was published against the background of an insurance crisis of recent years which has been highlighted in circumstances where Insurers are no longer prepared to insure certain sectors. Lobbying groups such as Brokers Ireland and the Alliance for Insurance Reform have broadly welcomed the Action Plan with a focus on areas that they wish to see prioritised.

The Plan sets out 66 actions to reduce costs for both consumers and businesses and the Plan largely pledges the following:

-Replacing the Book of Quantum with new guidelines and enhancing the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).

-Examining the duty of care particularly with respect to Occupier Liability matters which would greatly benefit in particular sporting/voluntary bodies and community groups.

-Enhancing the National Claims Information Database.

-Judicial Guidelines for capping personal injury awards.

-Reducing insurance fraud by including placing perjury on a statutory footing making the offence easier to prosecute.

Further initiatives that have already been commenced include the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 and the establishment of a Department within Government to ensure greater insurance market competition on a cross-departmental basis.

Any one of the proposed reforms requires fuller consideration however it does appear that Insurance Reform is a priority despite other ongoing crises such as Covid-19 and Brexit.

CONCLUSION

Many of these reforms are far-reaching and will require the input of various sectors to ensure their viability or success. In presenting the reforms An Tánaiste indicated that there would be updates on a quarterly basis which will be monitored with interest.  In order to tackle fraud and abuses, some existing offences are being made easier to prosecute.  The timing and delivery of such reforms will be the measure of its success and as noted by the Alliance for Insurance Reform a previous recommendation by the costs of Insurance Working Group regarding a Garda (Police) division to prosecute insurance fraud has yet to be established.

For fuller advice regarding Insurance Reform in Ireland please contact Mary Byrne mbyrne@obl.ie of OBL Solicitors.