“Too many insurance claimants are seeking to bypass the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) in the hope of securing a larger pay-out in the courts,” said Fianna Fáil’s Finance Spokesperson, Michael McGrath as he introduced new legislation to strengthen the work of the board.
“The PIAB was established to remove pressure from the Courts system and to avoid, where possible, the often costly adversarial approach of the Courts system. Too many insurance claims are now being settled without any significant involvement by PIAB.
“However, the current system is being undermined. It is being undermined by some claimants seeking higher pay outs and who then chose not to co-operate with the PIAB process. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“Under the current PIAB model, independent medical assessments are carried out following a claim. If both parties accept the assessment, expensive legal proceedings can be avoided.
“However, if the claimant decides not to engage with this process and does not undergo this assessment, the Board cannot make an informed decision. Ultimately, this can lead to the claimant rejecting the Board’s offer and going down the legal route in the hope of higher pay outs.
“Our bill provides that if a claimant fails to provide information or documents requested by the Board or fails to attend a medical examination as requested by the Board and if he or she subsequently brings legal proceedings, the court shall have regard to the failure to comply with the requests from the board.
“This will allow the Judge discretion to rule that certain evidence (including medical evidence) is not admissible in court. Additionally, the court has discretion to determine that no award of costs may be made in favour of the claimant under these circumstances.
“This bill is not a silver bullet to all that ails the dysfunctional Irish insurance market. However, taken in tandem with other measures such as my colleague, Billy Kelleher’s bill to ensure that false claimants face legal action, it can bring about a more sustainable insurance industry that should deliver more affordable premiums,” concluded McGrath.