New Law Society President refutes 'self-serving' insurance industry survey

The new President of the Law Society of Ireland Stuart Gilhooly, who took office today, has lashed back against the anti-victim propaganda of the insurance industry.

The latest example, he said, is a survey by AIG which purportedly measures public awareness of falsified insurance claims. This research, paid for by AIG, alleges that 15% of the public know someone who has falsified an insurance claim.

“How can this be true? The insurance industry takes a highly sceptical and even aggressive attitude towards every claim made. The courts system is rigorous in testing for false claims. All evidence of injury is confirmed by doctors, the truth of all facts in the case must be sworn by the victim and the severest penalties including imprisonment can be applied where false claims are found to have been made.”

“Prosecutions for fraudulent claims are extremely rare.”

“This further piece of self-serving insurance industry propaganda against accident victims is designed simply to distract from the massive increases in motor insurance premiums, whose true causes lie elsewhere. As the Chief Executive of the Injuries Board confirmed yesterday, there has been no big increase in claims or awards to warrant rises of 70% in the average premium over the last three years.”

“Years of under-reserving and under-charging by the motor insurance industry, which has driven competitors from the market, together with a collapse in their investment income, are the true causes of this crisis for the premium-paying public,” Gilhooly added. “The insurers continue to blame everyone but themselves for this crisis.”

About Stuart Gilhooly

Stuart Gilhooly has commenced his term as President of the Law Society of Ireland for the year 2016/17, with effect from today (Friday 4 November 2016). Mr Gilhooly (age 45) is a partner in the law firm HJ Ward & Co, Harold’s Cross, Dublin. He will serve a one-year term as president of the 16,000-strong solicitors’ profession until November 2017.

Originally from Malahide, Co Dublin, Stuart is the eldest son of James (who qualified as a barrister in the early ‘80s) and mother Valerie (née Stuart), both deceased.

Stuart was educated in John Paul II primary school and completed his secondary education at Malahide Community School. He studied law at University College Dublin from 1988 to ‘91, graduating with a BCL, followed by a Diploma in Business Studies at the Smurfit School of Business. In October 1992, he began his traineeship at HJ Ward & Co, qualified as a solicitor in 1995, and was made a partner in 2003.

In his spare time, he is an avid cyclist and is a member of the VC Beechwood cycling club in Ranelagh, Dublin.

Stuart has served on the Council of the Law Society of Ireland for the past 17 years, originally becoming a member in 1999. He has chaired many of the Society’s most senior committees, including the Finance Committee, the Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee, the Litigation Committee and the Education Committee, among others.

Stuart will lead the solicitors’ profession during a period of unprecedented challenges, including the establishment of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority and the impact of the Brexit referendum on Ireland.

He will be the first President of the Law Society to have a dedicated Twitter account – you can follow him @LSIpresident. Stuart aims to update his followers regularly on news and developments of interest to the legal profession. 

Return to previous press releases