60% Disagree That ‘Easy Money’ and Big Payouts Are Reasons for Large Volume of Injury Claims

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23 May 2024

A significant portion of the population does not believe that high volumes of compensation claims for injuries are being made because it is easy to get payouts.

Many also disagree with the notion that the high value of payments when there is a settlement encourages people to make a claim, according to research conducted for the Injuries Resolution Board.

The market research found that 60% of those who responded do not feel claims are made because payments are easy to get or because of the big payouts.

This might clarify why two-thirds of adults believe the claims process is fair, despite concerns about fraudulent claims and excessive compensation amounts, said Amárach Research, which conducted the survey.

The board, which has changed its name from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, commissioned the research to mark 20 years since it was established.

Reforms have been instituted in the last few years to address what insurance reform campaigners have said is a perceived “compo culture” in Ireland.

The notion that it is easy for some people to make claims has been highlighted by insurers to justify the high cost of cover.

Amárach research found claims are predominantly made for legitimate reasons. It discovered that those injured seek to recoup financial losses or to compensate for pain and suffering caused by the injury.

This is especially true for the over-55s, who have a higher likelihood of making a claim as they are more prone to experiencing an accident.

The board stated: “For the most part, it is believed claims are made for genuine reasons.

“However, 60% do not believe claims are made because payments are easy to get or because of the value of claims.”

When asked if they had been injured in an accident, 60% said they had not been injured, and only a third of those who had been injured went on to make a personal injury claim.

This is equivalent to 87% of the wider population not engaging in the claims process.

Researchers found there is strong awareness of the board, with the highest awareness among those aged 55 and over.

The compensation claims process is widely believed to affect insurance costs.

Half of adults reported experiencing increases in the premiums they were charged last year and this year, particularly among the over-55s.

Last month, the Supreme Court affirmed that the personal injury award guidelines voted in by judges three years ago are legally binding.

Insurers had promised to reduce the cost of cover if these reforms were implemented.

The guidelines have led to a reduction in award levels by up to 40%.

Duty-of-care legislation has been updated to benefit insurers, and a dedicated garda fraud office has been established.

However, motor, home, and health insurance costs are rising again, with the industry citing various reasons for the higher costs of cover.

The cost of motor premiums increased for the eighth time last month, according to Central Statistics Office figures.

Brian Hanley, of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, argued it was “impossible to justify” continuing increases in the cost of premiums when the volume of claims and the size of awards were decreasing, and government reforms had been delivered for insurers.

He said the Injuries Resolution Board-commissioned research indicated that premiums were rising for the majority of people.

The most recent figures, for 2022, show insurers’ profits have increased by 55% compared to the previous year, Mr. Hanley noted.

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