30th June 2017
Government decision marks another important step in efforts to address the elevated cost of insurance
An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald has published the General Scheme of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Bill.
The purpose of the General Scheme is to strengthen the operational powers of the Personnel Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and to ensure greater compliance with the PIAB process and encourage more claims to be settled through it.
The Tánaiste said, “This is another important step in our efforts to address the increasing cost of insurance. The cost of settling personal injury claims is recognised as being a major factor in contributing to those costs. The objective of this Bill is to further strengthen the low-cost claims settlement model which the Personal Injuries Assessment Board provides. By encouraging more claims to be settled at an earlier stage, we can take many costs out of the settlement process. These savings should ultimately benefit the consumer through lower insurance costs.
The January 2017 report of the Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) made recommendations in relation to maximising the PIAB model so that more claims are settled through that process. It found the cost of personal injury claims is significantly cheaper through the PIAB model than through litigation. PIAB also facilitates objective assessments of damages in a far shorter timeframe than possible through litigation. This legislation will ensure more claims can be assessed or settled within the PIAB process.
The Bill will address the recommendations in the (CIWG) Report relating to cases of non-cooperation, such as non–attendance at medicals and failure to provide details of special damages or loss of earnings. The Bill will also provide that the Book of Quantum is reviewed every three years and give the Board power to obtain information from individuals and organisations in order to provide data for the purpose of the Board fulfilling its functions.”
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Note to Editors
General Scheme for a Personal Injuries Assessment Board Amendment Bill 2017
Publishing the General Scheme of Bill before the end of the second quarter of 2017 is in line with the Department’s commitments under the Action Plan in the Cost of Insurance Working Group report which was published in January 2017 by the Department of Finance.
Strengthening the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) legislation has been advocated through:
• a public consultation;
• recommendations from the Cost of Insurance Working Group; and
• recommendations from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach.
The General Scheme of Bill has been sent to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting and also to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation for pre-legislative scrutiny.
Content of the Bill
The General Scheme of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Bill 2017 will mainly strengthen PIAB in terms of operational issues.
The Main Features are -
- Strengthening compliance with the PIAB process, (ensuring claimant’s attend at medicals and provide all available information to ensure accurate assessments can be made)
- Enabling electronic portal use, modernising and expediting the administrative process.
- Providing access to data to enable the Board to fulfil its functions.
- Providing that the Book of Quantum will be published every three years.
- Ensuring early notification of incomplete claims to respondents.
- Ensuring consistency in the application of limitation periods within the process.
- Broadening the Board’s discretion to release claims where an assessment cannot proceed.
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