In the Irish Times today was the news that a report by Standard & Poors, released in the aftermath of the extensive recent floods in Ireland, contains a number of findings which seem to contradict the general media spin from the Irish Insurance industry regarding both flood insurance and also injury claims in general.
On the extent of flood insurance risk the report stated:
“On balance, we consider that the Irish market is less prone to major natural catastrophe events than other
[property and casualty] insurance markets.”
It also appeared to adopt a more sober analysis of the extent of the purported rise in personal injury claims in Ireland:
“Unlike in the UK, there has not been a catastrophic increase in motor bodily injury claims, but we assess the risk from unpredictable settlements as intermediate.”
Notwithstanding, it also noted that motor insurance premiums had increased by up to 14% for many ordinary motorists year on year since 2013 (remember how the Injuries Board were supposedly going to stop this happening?!).
We have written on these pages previously about how Irish Insurance companies have an obvious agenda to seek to mimimize compensation paid to injured parties – by channeling claims through the ‘solicitor-free zone’ that is their preferred Injuries Board process – and some have been known to aggressively promote ‘lowball’ compensation offers to genuine claimants before that process even starts.
It was independent data from a Central Bank report in 2011 that proved that injured parties without legal representation from a solicitor got less compensation than those who might have thought they were better off going it alone through the Injuries Board process. It has now taken an independent report from S&P to expose the facts about the insurance industry’s actual financial exposure to flood risk.
Some all too gullible elements of the Irish media might also do well to seek out countervailing opinions and analysis next time the insurance industry lobby gets up on its pulpit!
Note: The Standard & Poors report is not yet published online, but below we have embedded an Oireachtas Committee report from late 2015 which, amongst other issues, addresses the profit margins of Irish insurance companies with European comparators.