Public liability personal injury claims can now be mediated for resolution by the Injuries Resolution Board in a development which its hoped will help further bring down insurance costs.

The addition of the new service is part of Government reforms of the board’s functions and powers.

Dara Calleary (Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation), who holds responsibility for the board, said that the move was part of a push for insurance reform and that there had been a very strong initial response to mediation for workplace-accident claims, with uptake by almost 40% of claimants.

“Mediation is an effective way of resolving disputes quickly and in a cost-effective manner. It helps both claimants and respondents to reach a mutual agreement and provides an alternative to litigation, which can be costly, time consuming, and stressful for all involved,” the minister said.

“I commenced legislation to provide for mediation as a service for employers’ liability personal injury claims last December. Already we have seen a very strong initial response to the introduction of mediation for workplace accident claims with almost 40% of claimants indicating that they would be willing to enter into the mediation process.”

Previously the board was not able to consider cases where liability was not agreed, but following the introduction of the mediation service that is now possible. Mediation is also able to consider claim value, extent of injury and contributory negligence.

The current consent rate to board-assessment of cases is 70%, while the acceptance rate of assessed awards has gone up from 36% in mid-2021 to 50% this year. The minister said that he would commence legislation to provide for mediation for motor-liability personal-injury cases later this year.

In its 20 years of existence the board has received around 500,000 cases, which have resulted in almost 180,000 awards in accepted assessments. The total value of those awards is approximately €2 billion.

Insurance Ireland, the body representing insurers, welcomed the launch as a “significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to enhance the efficiency and fairness of the claims resolution process.

“Insurance Ireland and our members fully support the government’s mission to foster a more accessible, competitive, and sustainable insurance landscape,” said Moyagh Murdock, CEO of Insurance Ireland.

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