Insurers warned not to hike rates over payouts
A RISE in compensation paid by the Injuries Board should not be used as an excuse for insurers to hike premiums for home and motor insurance, its chief executive has warned.
The Injuries Board said road traffic accidents continued to account for the lion's share of personal injury claims.
They accounted for three out of four awards in the first half of this year, a period when total compensation increased by 8.3pc to €118m.
There were close to 5,300 claims in the first six months of this year. The highest award was close to €1m, the Injuries Board said.
Head of the state board Patricia Byron admitted there was a rise in the number of awards made in the first half of the year.
But she warned insurers not to use this as an excuse to hike premiums for consumers.
"The Injuries Board monitors claims volumes very closely. Despite double-digit increases in the first half of 2013, claims volumes slowed in the third quarter and a continuation of that trend could see full-year volume increases being pared back to about 5pc – on par with prior years."
And she stressed that the processing fees imposed on insurers for dealing with the Injuries Board had fallen by one-third.
"On this basis, and given a 30pc reduction in the board's processing fee to respondents (mainly insurers), we see no basis for insurance premium hikes at this time."
The board made its highest ever compensation award of €976,000 at a delivery cost of €6,000.
Ms Byron said if this case was to go through the courts, the average litigation cost would be €536,000. This meant the board saved €530,000 by processing the claim.
Ms Byron said the body continued to focus on cost-savings.
Limerick, Longford, Dublin, Louth and Carlow are the five counties with the largest number of awards as a proportion of population.
The five counties with the lowest number of awards per head of population are Kilkenny, Roscommon, Laois, Wexford and Wicklow.
The board has launched a new smartphone app, which features an interactive claim investor and information on how to access its services.
By law, personal injury claims must come to the board for assessment, even if the consumer has legal representation.
Since it was set up, the cost of motor insurance has fallen by almost one-third.