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Question

710. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice if she will address a matter (details supplied) regarding insurance reform; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12868/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Insurance reform is a key priority for this Government. That is reflected in the Programme for Government itself, in the Government’s Action Plan for Insurance Reform, which was launched last December, and in the Justice Plan 2021, which I published recently.
The Government’s Action Plan for Insurance Reform sets out 66 actions designed to bring down costs for consumers and business; introduce more competition into the market; prevent fraud and reduce the burden on business, community and voluntary organisations. The Action Plan includes actions to be taken by my Department, the Department of Finance and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The implementation of the Action Plan is being overseen by the Sub-Group on Insurance Reform within the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment.
With regard to personal injuries guidelines, the Deputy will be aware that the Judicial Council Act 2019 provides, inter alia, for the establishment of a Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee. Last October, the Government amended the Judicial Council Act 2019, to ensure that the personal injuries guidelines would be adopted and published by, at the latest, 31 July 2021, three months earlier than originally required under the Act.
Draft Guidelines were furnished to the Board of the Judicial Council last December and, following consideration, were adopted by the Judicial Council on 6 March 2021 and published.
Yesterday, I secured Cabinet approval to amend the Judicial Council Act 2019 and the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 to bring the new Personal Injuries Guidelines into effect. Bringing the new Personal Injuries Guidelines into operation is a key action in my Justice Plan 2021, and I intend that the Guidelines will take effect in April.
In addition to the adoption and publication of the personal injury guidelines, my Department is developing proposals in relation to:
- the Occupiers' Liability Act 1995,
- the discount rate applied to awards in cases of catastrophic injury, and
- the Law Reform Commission Report on the Capping Damages in Personal Injury Actions.