"There's a voice which regrettably is never heard in this utterly one-sided debate", the Director General told Sean O'Rourke. The Law Society believes that its perfectly legitimate to urge that the perspective of accident victims should be heard. The innocent victim of the negligence of others have no organised voice, unlike other powerful, vested interests. There are already massive profits being made in the Insurance Industry. Premiums are going through the roof and now they want to reduce the level of awards to victims. There is no justification in that.
If there is to be a reduction in the level of awards being paid to claimants, to the innocent victims of accidents, that reduction should not simply inflate the already enormous profits of the Insurance Industry. It should not go into insurers' pockets. It should go to premium payers.
The Insurance Industry is being fundamentally dishonest by claiming that our Compo Culture is to blame for a rise in insurance premiums. These words of Mr. Justice Kevin Cross, who oversees the personal injury list in the High Court, were quoted recently in The Sunday Business Post. He added: "The word of a vested interest group has been trotted out without adequate scrutiny by some commentators". The Judges remarks were subsequently debated on RTE Radio 1's Today with Sean O'Rourke on 29th October last. O'Rourke refereed the exchanges between the Law Society's Director General Ken Murphy and Insurance Ireland's Declan Jackson.
Murphy unreservedly endorsed Judge Cross's comments. He added that claiming that compo culture and fraudulent claims were responsible for the rise in insurance premiums was just incredible . He commented that others also held similar views: "We had Pearse Doherty from Sinn Fein in a very forensic cross-examination of insurance CEO's at the Oireachtas Finance Committee in July. I believe that the video of that has been viewed half a million times. He forensically destroyed the credibility of the argument that was being put forward in relation to fraudulent claims".
Murphy added that the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan had also been highly sceptical of the insurance industry's assertions. In addition Minister Michael D'Arcy had talked about his low level of trust in insurance companies.
Murphy referred to three major inquiries in to the Insurance Industry in Ireland at present:
1. The European Commission is investigating suspected breaches of EU Competition Law;
2. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is investigating other suspected anti-competitive behaviour:
3. The Central Bank has been investigating differential pricing
In Personal Injuries or Contentious business, a Solicitor is prohibited from percentage charging.
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