Shock figures point to high insurance fraud rates
More than a fifth of Irish people are aware of someone that has exaggerated an insurance claim as discontent grows among motorists over rising premiums, new research has shown.
The majority of Irish people believe that an independent medical panel - that can see objective proof and evidence of injury - should be required in whiplash cases.
The study of 1,000 people which was carried out by Ignite for insurer AIG reveals that almost 80pc believe the average whiplash award of €15,000 is excessive.
According to the research, 21pc of people are aware of someone who has exaggerated an insurance claim while a further 15pc know someone who has falsified a claim.
An overwhelming 80pc agreed that premiums were affected directly as a result of these false claims.
When asked about a 'fair' reward for whiplash claimants the average figure outlined by respondents was €3,631 - less than a quarter of the €15,000 norm.
The vast majority of those questioned in the survey said successful whiplash claimants should receive medical expenses, a rehabilitation programme and loss of earnings as opposed to being paid compensation.
The research also found that nearly three quarters of people were unhappy with the compensation culture in Ireland.
AIG head of consumer insurance, Aidan Connaughton, said the research provided a "fascinating" insight into public opinion on insurance claims.
"It is evidently clear that there is a deep frustration with the current compensation culture, with 73pc outlining their dissatisfaction," he said.
Nearly 85pc of respondents believed the Government needed to find a solution to the problem.
However, calls for the Government to intervene come after the State body that deals with insurance claims told TDs and senators that it saw no justification for huge increases in motor premiums.
The Injuries Board said there had been no big increase in claims or awards to warrant rises of 70pc in the average premium over the last three years.
"Our figures in recent years do not support the level of increase in claims and we cannot see how people justify the level of increases that we've seen," Injuries Board chief executive officer Conor O'Brien said at a recent Oireachtas Finance Committee meeting.