Tuesday 17 July 2018

Insurance reform group calls for claims board shake-up

Peter Boland. Photo: Kevin Mcfeely
Peter Boland. Photo: Kevin Mcfeely
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

A group campaigning for reforms in the insurance sector has called for representatives of policyholders to be appointed to the State body that deals with injury claims.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform expressed "grave reservations" about the Government's intention to appoint two directors specifically with legal and medical backgrounds to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).

The PIAB was set up to process claims quickly and cheaply without the need for cases to be heard in the courts.

Business Minister Heather Humphreys said recently she intends to appoint two directors to the PIAB.

The notice seeking candidates states that they should have legal and medical backgrounds.

But Peter Boland of the Alliance said: "We have conveyed our serious concern at this plan. It increases even further the influence of vested interests who profit from the current claims crisis, with insurers, medical experts and the legal profession all getting a seat on the board."

He claimed the sectors most directly affected by the current crisis - small and medium-sized businesses, charities, sports clubs, voluntary groups and other small organisations and individual policy holders - remain voiceless. But these groups are expected to pick up the tab, he added.

"What makes this situation even more galling is that the legal profession, some of whose members have worked tirelessly to undermine the work of the PIAB, will now be represented on the board."

The Alliance has appealed to the minister to rescind the current process and commit to including a representative of small policy holders on the PIAB board.

PIAB's board is made up of members from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Central Bank, trade union body Ictu, ministerial nominees, Insurance Ireland, and employer body Ibec.

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