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Injuries Board says 'emerging claims culture' could increase insurance costs

The annual report from the Injuries Board has shown that the number of claims have increased by nearly five per cent. €217.9 million was paid out in 2012.

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THE INJURIES BOARD has warned against higher insurance premiums due to what they believe is an “emerging claims culture” in Ireland.

Their warning comes as its annual review for 2012 has shown an increase in personal injury claims of 4.7 per cent over the previous 12 months, and a jump of 24 per cent since 2007.

These claims related to motor, employer and public liability accidents, with the total compensation awarded by the board for 2012 totalling €217.9 million.

The average award was €21,502, with the highest award being €697.495.

Claims which were related to injuries sustained from road traffic accidents accounted for 75 per cent of awards, with workplace incidents accounting for a further eight per cent and accidents in public places making up the remaining 15 per cent.

The reported also found that Limerick had the highest number of awards based on its population, with Kilkenny having the lowest.

The CEO of the Injuries Board, Patricia Byron, called the increase in claims “a real concern”, adding that the number of motor claims were at odds with the fact that Ireland’s roads have never been safer.

The drop of the numbers of people in work should, she believed, have also led to a drop in workplace claims.

“The trend coincides with a significant increase in promotion and advertising by claims handling intermediaries,” she said.

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. We believe that a regulatory gap has emerged whereby solicitors are restricted from promoting their services yet claims handling firms can do so with impunity.

Read: Fees for injuries board cut by €250 in bid to help businesses >

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Paul Hyland

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