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Report: Polish motor insurers face a decade of uncertainty due to retrospective bereavement damages claims (3)

Report: Polish motor insurers face a decade of uncertainty due to retrospective bereavement damages claims (3)

Dodano: 2017-10-24
Publikator: S&P Ratings

There is considerable incentive to claim

According to the Polish Insurance Association (PIU), on average, bereavement damages for deaths after 2008 have risen to about PLN 62,000 (around EUR 14,000). Compared with some other Western European countries, Polish compensation is still low, in absolute terms; for example, in Italy, compensation can easily reach several hundred thousand euros per case. However, PLN 62,000 is 15 times the average monthly salary in Poland. In England & Wales, by contrast, bereavement damage is a single lump sum of  GBP 12,980 (around EUR 14,300 or about six times the average monthly salary in the U.K). Under German law, compensation for bereavement is typically not paid at all, and where available, redress is only paid in exceptional cases.

Most bereavement damage claims have historically been settled outside the court system–this usually results in an amount below the PIU’s average being paid in redress. By contrast, when the final settlement is decided through a court, the amount paid may be two or three times the PIU average. More troublingly, in Poland the settlement of such cases can be reopened, as long as the amount of redress was not assigned by court, at any time until 20 years after the event.

While courts have a role in assessing and assigning the appropriate redress for bereavement damages, we consider that their decisions have led to similar cases being treated differently. In the past few years, many firms have been established to help the families of those bereaved to claim redress from insurers in Poland’s very loosely regulated market. This suggests that payments could increase materially if claimants decide to reopen cases and challenge the amount of redress they received through the courts and could cause prices to rise further.

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