Hard-pressed firms to benefit from 30pc reduction in fees for personal injuries
Published 14/01/2013 | 05:00
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board is to cut its fees by 30pc.
Businesses that have a claim made against them will see the amount they are charged by the injuriesboard.ie cut from €850 to €600 with immediate effect. The €45 fee payable by claimants remains unchanged.
This government initiative is aimed at reducing the insurance policy costs, in particular for businesses and consumers who hold motor, employer and public liability insurance.
Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said the move was part of a drive to reduce fees the Government imposed on business under the Action Plan for Jobs.
Making the announcement, Mr Bruton said a key pillar of the Government's plan for jobs and growth was taking action to reduce the burden of costs and red tape on hard-pressed businesses so they could survive, expand and create the jobs we needed.
"In recent weeks we have taken significant steps in this area, including the introduction of the landmark reforming companies bill and the announcement of a new government plan to reduce the burden of licences on businesses by 33pc."
Formerly known as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, InjuriesBoard.ie was set up in 2004 to speed up personal injury claims and slash legal costs. It was introduced to reduce soaring insurance premiums fuelled by fraudulent and exaggerated claims.
All injury claims, except for those involving medical negligence, now must be submitted to the board for assessment.
InjuriesBoard.ie assesses personal injury claims without the need for a court appearance, but if a respondent does not agree to an assessment or if either side rejects the board's award, the matter can then be referred to the courts.
Recent figures show that 9,833 awards to the value of €209.83m were made in 2011. This is up from 8,308 awards to the value of €186.63m made in 2010. Some 77pc of all awards were in respect of motor cases, while 8pc related to employers' liability and 15pc related to public liability.
The average award of €21,339 in 2011 was 4.2pc lower than in 2010. This cut was largely due to a reduction in the proportion of work-related claims – typically of higher value – and reduced loss of earnings, given lower salaries across the economy.
During 2011, and in line with earlier years, awards in the employers' liability category were highest at €27,102, reflecting the often more serious and complex nature of the injuries sustained in such accidents.
InjuriesBoard.ie has estimated that the new rates will cut costs by about €3m each year.
Patricia Byron, its chief executive, said that following the reduction in respondent fees, the fees payable by insurance companies had been cut by a total of 43pc since February 2011.
"I am now calling on insurers to play their part by ensuring that fee reductions deliver lower premiums," she added.