Seanad backs bill to cap level of awards in personal injury cases

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A bill tabled to cap the level of insurance payouts for personal injury claims has passed second stage in the Seanad.

It received widespread support and will now go to committee stage.

The aim of the bill is to ensure the cost of insurance cover is reduced for motorists, businesses and farmers.

Called the Civil Liability (Capping of General Damages) Bill 2019, it is being promoted by Fine Gael Senator Tony Lawlor.

Speaking during a debate on the bill last week, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan described the insurance industry as highly profitable and said there was scope to cut premiums. He said jobs were at risk from soaring premiums and the inability of some companies to get cover.

The level of awards in personal injury cases was too high and needs to be addressed, the minister said.

Businesses, particularly those in the leisure and child activity sectors, are closing due to soaring premiums, with many unable to get cover.

Mr Lawlor’s bill has the support of business groups Ibec, Isme, the Licensed Vintners Association, the IFA and Insurance Ireland.

The bill comes months after the Government-appointed Personal Injuries Commission found that award levels for minor injuries are almost five times higher than in the UK.