Proposed reforms to the Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB) should be implemented as soon as possible, an Oireachtas committee has said.

The Joint Commission for Business, Trade and Employment has completed its pre-legislative examination of the general system of Personal Injury Resolution Commission Bill.

The bill will rename the PIAB as the Personal Injury Resolution Board (PIRB) and provide greater access to mediation as a way to settle a claim.

Maurice Quinlivan, cathaoirleach committee, said: “The committee recommends speedy passage of this bill and urges that the focus on insurance reform continues.

“It is encouraging to see that the new quantum of damages system is lowering the level of settlement. However, litigation rates are still too high, and the proposed bill should make it possible to settle more of them through the PIAB.

“Efforts must continue to achieve greater transparency in the sector, greater competition for the benefit of consumers and greater consistency in the handling of complaints in order to reduce unnecessary costs.”

The bill also seeks to expand the powers of the PIAB to assess more complex injuries to include psychological injuries and to increase the number of personal injury claims that can be resolved by the PIAB by including those types of claims that ‘they haven’t rated before.

Mr Quinlivan said: “The committee welcomes the intentions of the general scheme and looks forward to further commitments on the bill. Hopefully, once enacted, this will be a significant step in transforming the personal injury claims environment.

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