Irish insurers are hoping a new independent body for assessing personal injury claims will help to cut claims.

The Irish Department of Enterprise is to launch the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, to be set up next year, which will offer a cheaper alternative to court action.

Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) chief executive Mike Kemp said fees for professionals including medics, accountants and legal advisers have been estimated at between 25% and 40% of the total settlement cost.

“Damages are a good deal higher here than virtually any other country in Europe,” he said.

Motor claims in Ireland increased 4% last year and employer liability suits were up 10%.