Dáil Éireann - Volume 524 - 12 October, 2000
Written Answers. - Public Liability Insurance.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
94. Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if any measurement of public liability insurance costs has taken place here as compared with the rest of Europe and the US; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21859/00]
Mr. Treacy Mr. Treacy
Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. Treacy):Deloitte & Touche, management consultants were commissioned in 1996 to undertake a study on the economic evaluation of insurance costs in Ireland. Comparisons with other jurisdictions were made in respect of public liability and motor insurance. The study found that premium rates in Ireland were higher than in other EU countries surveyed.
The Deloitte & Touche report found that the two major factors driving up the cost of personal injury settlements in Ireland were medical inflation and the high transactions cost of claims, particularly legal costs, including the cost of  expert witnesses. In response to these findings, a special working group was established under the aegis of our Department.
The special working group, as part of its remit, commissioned research into the processing of personal injury claims in Ireland and the United Kingdom as well as a research based study of personal injury compensation systems in operation in other European countries, in New Zealand and in the United States. However, this research did not specifically address the issue of public liability insurance cover in the various countries.
We are currently in the process of examining the recommendations contained in the special working group's second and final report on a personal injuries tribunal.
The Deloitte & Touche report also identified improved health and safety measures in the workplace as a way of reducing costs. I would regard the initiatives on the establishment of affinity schemes for small businesses and the development of a voluntary code of practice, in safe working and accident prevention, as significant and positive measures being taken by Irish business, through a social partnership approach, to reduce the cost burden of accidents in the workplace.
Dáil Éireann 524 Written Answers. Public Liability Insurance.