'Compo-culture' drives up insurance costs, says founder of Supermacs
If the fraudulent claims and 'compo-culture' in Ireland persists, more people will not be able to afford - or willing to get - insurance, according to Supermacs founder Pat McDonagh.
The self-made businessman admits that genuine claims, such as those he's experienced first-hand in the fast-food industry are "a fact of life", but "it's the totally fraudulent and exaggerated claims that cause the problems".
McDonagh has faced a number of difficulties with conmen orchestrating falls in his stores; at one point he faced 125 live cases claiming injury occurred on Supermacs premises.
"This was at a time when the number of outlets we had was not near the amount we have today," he said. "I was going in to work wondering what new claim would be on my desk when I went in - all my energy was focused on that rather than the actual business itself."
Footage taken from a Supermacs store in Cork was provided to independent.ie to show an example of the type of claim McDonagh faced.
"In that instance, the man made a dramatic fall, an ambulance had to be called and the store had to be closed," he said.
"When it went to court, the judge commented: 'Did you ever look at YouTube? Well this is one for YouTube.'"
McDonagh appeared on the 'The Late Late Show' last month to highlight this issue of phoney personal injury claims here but believes a lot more needs to done.
Because the costs have gone up so much in the courts, this has encouraged insurance companies to try and settle cases, said McDonagh.
He said that the 'compo-culture' in Ireland today, where claimants are exaggerating their claims by as much as 50pc, is leading to an increase in insurance costs.
"What that leads to is people not willing to get or unable to afford insurance, especially on the motor insurance side of things," he said.
"This kind of claim culture doesn't happen to this extent in the UK or on the continent."