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Sunday 21 September 2014

Insurance warning as claims jump

Published 26/03/2013 | 09:26

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Motor claims have jumped by more than a third over the last five years

The promotion of a claims culture could result in higher insurance premiums, it has been warned.

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The Injuries Board revealed almost 29,000 people made a claim last year, up almost 5% in a year and up a quarter since 2007.

Patricia Byron, chief executive, revealed the increase was driven by motor claims which have jumped by more than a third over the last five years.

"The steady but consistent increase in claims volumes over the past five years is a real concern at a time when our roads have never been safer and we have fewer people at work," she said.

"The trend coincides with a significant increase in promotion and advertising by claims-handling intermediaries.

"Last year, the Injuries Board raised concerns that specialist claims-farming firms were promoting a claims culture that could result in higher insurance premiums for consumers and business and a decline in competitiveness.

"We need to learn lessons from the UK market, where claims-handling services are promoted heavily and whiplash claims have increased by 60% since 2006."

The board assesses personal injury claims and makes awards relating to motor, employer and public liability accidents, without the need for litigation and aims to keep cases out of the courts system.

Figures showed compensation awards jumped by almost 4% to 218 million euro in 2012. The average award was 21,502 euro, while the highest was 697,495 euro, and the majority were solved in seven months.

Three quarters of awards - 75% - were for injuries from road traffic accidents, with the rest listed as workplace (8%) and public place (17%) accidents.

Press Association

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