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Most people want to see compensation payouts slashed

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A majority of people want to see compensation payouts slashed, with four in 10 saying they know someone who has made a bogus insurance claim.

The results of the survey commissioned by insurance brokers CFM Group, and carried out by iReach, come as judges consider realigning injury award levels in the courts, which are more than four times higher here than in the UK.

The survey of 1,000 adults found that eight in 10 want to see compensation payouts slashed. Women are more in favour of capping compensation payments than men. Older people are much more likely to favour a cap on compensation.

More men than women say that they know for sure that someone has made a false claim.

Jonathan Hehir, managing director of business insurer CFM Group, said: “The crux of the matter is, the higher the cost of claims, the higher the premium the business or employer is charged.”

A recent Government-appointed commission, headed up by former High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, found that court awards here are four-and-a-half times higher than in the UK. Britain has moved to reduce its award levels since these findings.

The new Judicial Council is due to publish new guidelines on award payout levels in Ireland before July 31 next, at the latest.

The hope is that these guidelines will recommend lower levels of awards for various injuries.

It is understood that draft guidelines were presented to the board of the Judicial Council earlier this month by a committee of judges.

The plan is that these guidelines will replace the Book of Quantum which is currently drawn up by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.

Earlier this year, a Law Reform Commission report found that introducing a cap on damages awarded in
personal injury cases would be permissible under Irish law.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform’s Peter Boland said his organisation expected the ongoing review of personal injury damages by the Judicial Council to reflect the common good and move to dramatically reduce the level of damages awarded for minor, fully recovered injuries.

Anything less would merely perpetuate the current crisis and cause permanent damage to the fabric of Irish society as it struggled to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

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