The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has welcomed the publication of a government action plan for insurance reform, which involves the introduction of guidelines for the appropriate level of personal injury awards, in place of the current Book of Quantum.
"Imperative That These Guidelines Bring Much-Needed Consistency"
IHF chief executive Tim Fenn stated, "We urge the government to maintain the momentum around reform. Exaggerated and misleading insurance claims have been the scourge of many businesses, and hotels in particular. For far too long, such claims have driven up costs and impacted competitiveness, which our sector can no longer afford.
"It is imperative that these guidelines [for the appropriate level of personal injury awards] bring much-needed consistency while also giving some certainty as to the likely cost of taking a claim to court. These guidelines should encourage insurance companies to defend exaggerated and spurious claims in court rather than settling, as continues to happen. This has been to the detriment of businesses including hotels in recent years, resulting in excessive and unjustifiable insurance premiums.
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"The exorbitant levels of awards and lack of consistency has made Ireland less attractive for insurers. This, in turn, has reduced competition in the insurance market and driven up costs, diminishing our competitiveness, which is ultimately borne by the consumer. At the beginning of this year, we still had a significant number of hotels paying over €1,000 per room. For an industry that has been devastated by COVID-19 restrictions, that level of cost is completely unsustainable."
"An Important Step On The Road To Tackling Insurance Fraud"
Commenting on the government's plans to place perjury on a statutory footing and ensure enhanced cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the insurance industry, Fenn said that a zero tolerance approach to fraud is required in order to create an effective deterrent, and added, "We have no issue whatsoever with genuine claims where guests are rightly and properly compensated. However, at present, the scales of justice seem to be tipped against businesses seeking to rightly defend themselves in court against spurious claims, and this cannot continue.
"[This] announcement is an important step on the road to tackling insurance fraud and excessive claims, but, until such time as insurance premiums fall substantially, we cannot say that Ireland's problem with insurance has been fully resolved."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.