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The Punt - Insurers not helping Byron on claims costs

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Patricia Byron

Patricia Byron

Patricia Byron

Injuries Board head Patricia Byron had some strong words for insurance firms this week who she said were increasingly bypassing her agency.

The Injuries Board was set up to assess personal injury claims and pay awards outside the courts, with no need for expensive lawyers, who add up to 40pc to the cost of a claim.

Ms Byron pointed out that insurance companies are increasingly settling claims with customers without using her agency or the courts.

She estimates that around 18,000 claims are settled up front by insurers.

This is a worry, she says, as it may lead to high legal costs being paid by insurers, and there is a lack of transparency.

And this is at a time when her agency reported a 22pc rise in awards paid to €144m in the first six months of this year.

She did not say it, but the worry is that insurers are too eager to settle claims.

Last year motor insurers had net losses €192m, despite pushing up premiums by 6pc.

The Punt feels that bypassing the Injuries Board is risky and will lead to higher premiums. With friends like insurers, Ms Byron does not need enemies.

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