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Rising Personal Injury Awards Threatening Retail Sector Viability, Warns Retail Ireland

Published on May 24 2019 9:20 AM

Rising Personal Injury Awards Threatening Retail Sector Viability, Warns Retail Ireland

Retail Ireland, has today (22 May) said that the increase in personal injury awards is threatening the viability of the retail sector in Ireland.

The Ibec group that represents the retail sector said that is it vital for retailers that proposed amendments to the Judicial Council Bill 2017 are now agreed by Government and brought into law before the summer recess.

It outlined in a statement that Employer and Public Liability insurance costs are adding an unnecessary burden for the retail industry and it is limiting the sector’s ability to grow, create jobs and deliver value and choice to Irish consumers.

“Rising insurance premiums, fraudulent and exaggerated claims and general inefficiencies in our insurance market have become a major competitiveness issue for retailers in recent years," said Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland.

To illustrate this point, the group highlighted that in 2012, one of Ireland’s leading retailers has reduced incidents and claims by 50%, however, the cost of claims has increased by 100% over the  same period.

Burke said that Irish retailers continue to report average increases in Employer and Public Liability insurance of between 5% and 10% per annum, despite a falling number of incidents in store as a result of increased investment in staff training and store layout.

"Despite tireless work and substantial investment, efforts in this area have been undermined by our inefficient personal injuries regime." He said.

Insurance Premiums Inflation

The group noted that awards for soft tissue injuries in Ireland are over four times those of the nearest comparable market, the UK, and are simply unsustainable at current levels.

"Given the ongoing inflation in insurance premiums many retailers are now choosing to opt for the costly self-insurance approach as a means for keeping their annual insurance premiums down and increasing their say on whether to contest a questionable claim," Burke stated.

"This is not an option for smaller retail operations." He highlighted. “Unless urgent reform is forthcoming, many retailers will simply be unable to meet growing premiums into the future."

Proposed Amendments

As well as the urgent prioritisation of the Judicial Council Bill 2017, Retail Ireland has proposed the following amendments.

  • Full implementation of the recommendations made by the Personal Injuries Commission.
  • Full implementation of the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance and Employer and Public Liability Insurance.
  • A dedicated funding stream to provide resources to enable Gardai to tackle a growing prevalence of fraudulent and exaggerated claims.

© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.

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