I can inform the Deputy that I did not have any meetings with insurance companies or Insurance Ireland during the period in question. For your information, I spoke at an Insurance Ireland conference held in 2017 at which the issue of fraud was the main topic on the agenda.
The need to tackle insurance fraud and other drivers of insurance costs on enterprise and business, in both employer liability and public liability terms, goes to the core of the Government’s on-going drive to reduce the burden on our economy of insurance costs.
As the Deputy will be aware, the focal point of this reform is the Cost of Insurance Working Group which was established by the Government in July 2016 and is chaired by Minister of State, Michael D'Arcy TD. The objective of the Working Group has been to identify and examine the drivers of the cost of insurance, and recommend short, medium and longer term measures to address the issue of increasing insurance costs. It has published two key reports with recommendations – one on the Cost of Motor Insurance (2017) and the other on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance (2018).
To date and on foot of these reports the Government has taken a substantial number actions including:
- New Guidelines for the Reporting of Allegations of Fraudulent Insurance Claims to An Garda Síochána were published on 1 October 2018.
- A new insurance claim fraud category on the Garda PULSE system went live on 2 November 2018, enabling the production of better statistics.
- The Personal Injuries Commission was established in January 2017 and presented two reports of its own over an 18-month work programme.
- The Personal Injuries Commission recommended that the future Judicial Council be assigned the function of compiling guidelines for general damages for personal injury. I envisage that the Judicial Council will be established before the end of this year and steps are being taken to facilitate establishment within that time frame.
- The Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018 was commenced by Minister Humphreys in January 2019 to provide a better understanding of those factors influencing the cost of insurance.
- The Personal Injuries Assessment (Amendment) Act 2019 was commenced by Minister Donohoe in April 2019 reinforcing the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board which enables claims to be settled in a less costly fashion.
- Sections 8 and 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 were amended in January 2019 in conjunction with my Department to improve their effectiveness against fraudulent claims with costs implications for the offending parties.
- With effect from 1 November 2019 new rules to improve motor insurance pricing have come into force.