A leading small business insurance broker has urged the government to revise the current minor injury award system, suggesting that applicants should only be paid medical expenses and lost earnings to deter “overly contentious” applicants.
Insurance broker CFM Group also warned that delaying legislation to set up a committee to revamp policies for personal injury payouts will cost small businesses thousands of euros in higher insurance costs.
Under the current system, applicants can receive general damages of thousands of euros for pain and suffering from minor injuries, with medical expenses and loss of earnings in addition to this. The Group suggests that general damages should not be introduced for general injuries, that is, those who have essentially recovered. The CFM Group, which acts as an insurance broker for hundreds of stores and small businesses across the country, cited examples of applicants returning to sports such as five-on-five or 6 miles in the two or three weeks following the injuries have run.
“To blame for the division”
“We all squeeze, cut, or scratch in the course of our daily lives – most of the time we don’t even think about it – unless we may need to bandage a cut or put an ice pack on one leg. Said Jonathan Hehir, CEO of CFM Group. “However, once there is a chance to be blamed, these minor injuries can take on much larger form, and the lure of ‘simple’ monetary compensation can prove too tempting for some people.”
The scale of recommended payouts known as the Book of Quantum includes more than € 19,000 in general damage for a finger sprain, nearly € 28,000 for a minor wrist sprain, and € 20,000 for minor soft tissue damage to the foot. General claims for damages can, however, be higher.
“We run into public liability cases every day, and one thing that is perfectly obvious is that what is paid in a claim often does not honestly reflect the injury suffered – it massively overstates it,” Hehir said.
Such claims can create financial difficulties for companies, with insurance costs increasing as damage costs increase.
The insurance group said if a minor injury had no practical impact on the applicant’s daily life a few weeks after it was sustained, this should be taken into account when deciding whether to purchase insurance.
“I think most people would agree that in cases like this, paying someone medical expenses plus any loss of earnings is a fair solution. But the way our system currently works, there is the potential for applicants to earn a median income of six months from a very minor injury – and we believe it is this financial temptation that makes some applicants unduly contested. ”
The group accused the government of taking its foot off the gas on insurance premiums as car insurance has gradually declined and is no longer high on the public agenda.
“High visitor frequency”
“Minister D’Arcy has warned that the establishment of the Judiciary Council would be delayed until the end of 2020 if the Judicial Council law is not passed at this current session in Dáil before the July 11 summer recess,” said Hehir. “Every year of delay adds thousands of dollars to insurance costs for stores and other high-volume companies, and many of those companies simply won’t survive another year of inactivity.”