Inter Law – Irish Personal Injury Board looks to NZ

Irish Personal Injury Board looks to NZ – 14/04/2017

The Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB) has been looking to New Zealand for ideas on how to improve its current claims system.

All personal injury claims relating to workplace, motor and public liability accidents must be submitted to PIAB. The organisation was set up under the 2003 PIAB Act and received once-off government funding of €5 million to support its establishment in 2004.

The current system for dealing with claims has come under a considerable amount of criticism from different angles including the Association of British Insurers (ABI), news and press organizations and the Citizens Advice Board (CAB).

Last week, Dr Jan White, chief executive of New Zealand’s equivalent of PIAB – the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) – addressed delegates at the European Insurance Forum in Dublin. The ACC administers New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme and provides accident cover and injury prevention and rehabilitation services. White has been chief executive of the ACC since October 2005.

The ACC was set up in 1974 and provides ‘no fault’ cover to everyone, New Zealanders and visitors to the country.’ ‘In exchange for this level of cover, New Zealand’s citizens have given up the right to sue for damages,” White said.

White explained how efficient claims practices and systems could lead to lower costs.

While the two systems are fundamentally different, PIAB chief executive Patricia Byron said Ireland could learn from the way New Zealand dealt with personal injury claims. Byron stressed that she would not be in favour of a full no-fault system here, but added: ‘‘We need a bigger vision here.”

She said that ACC had the benefit of experience, and PIAB could examine the way the ACC worked as a way to develop PIAB.

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