Almost 400 people met at Dublin's College of Surgeons last night (October 17) to question the proposed Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB).

The Irish Insurance Federation (IIF) and the Irish Bar Council both attended the meeting. They have opposing views on the new board.

The Irish government plans to set up the PIAB by early next year in a bid to cut the huge cost of compensation claims.

Last week, Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Noel Treacy said the government had set up a group to examine the legislative changes the PIAB would require.

He said the group would report to the government by the end of the year.

The Insurance Institute of Ireland's Dublin branch set up the meeting so interested parties could learn more about the proposal.

Among those expected to attend the debate at the time Insurance Times went to press were Bar Council chairman Rory Brady, IIF chief executive Mike Kemp, Fergus Whelan of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment's (DETE) Ann Troy.

"We don't know enough about it, so this is a chance for the DETE to sketch it out and put some fears to rest," O'Doherty said.

The PIAB will assess claims without any legal involvement, but with representatives from both the insurance and consumer industries present.

However, the injured party will not be forced to accept the board's decision.

The PIAB has been heavily criticised by the Irish Bar Council and the Incorporated Law Society, but welcomed by the IIF.