Stage one is clear for Ireland’s Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill 2018, which was unopposed when introduced by Deputy Billy Kelleher to the Dáil.
“The current situation is unfair on businesses throughout the country,” said Kelleher, business spokesperson for Fianna Fáil, in his remarks published on the Houses of the Oireachtas website. “Their public liability insurance has increased by as much as 70% in the past four years alone even though the consumer price index only increased by 0.9% per year.
“These are the types of cost being incurred and carried by businesses continually.”
Kelleher explained that the purpose of the ‘short but significant’ bill is to provide a direct referral to the Director of Public Prosecutions from a court when a case is dismissed because of fraudulent evidence. The move aims to dispel the idea that there is no downside to trying to gain money through fraud and stop perpetrators from abusing the court process.
“Currently, if an insurance claim is taken to court and the evidence presented shows to be fraudulent, it is often the case that no action is taken against the claimant,” he noted. “There is good evidence to suggest that, to factor in fraudulent claims, a large cost is built into the insurance premiums of businesses across the State, leading to uncompetitiveness.”
The deputy described the bill as short but “could have a significant impact by acting as a deterrent,” adding that enacting it would allow tapping the Garda and an insurance fraud squad to investigate.
“I urge the House, in particular the government, to address this matter in a meaningful way and to accept that fraudulent insurance claims are having a negative impact on business and our economic competitiveness,” said Kelleher, who admits there is a lot of work to be done on the matter.