New judicial guidelines for personal injury claims have been recommended as "a matter of urgency" by an official report.

Compensation for 'whiplash' claims here are running at 4.4 times the level in Britain according to the Personal Injuries Commission.

The Commission found that the average soft tissue award is €17,338 compared to just €3,984 in Britain.

Commission chairman Justice Nicholas Kearns stated in his second and final report, that while genuine claimants need adequate compensation, the negative impact of high premiums on businesses and consumers had to be recognised.

Justice Kearns said awards here are a "stark multiple" of that in other countries.

He said "the multiple that has emerged in the benchmarking process is so significant that the Commission is satisfied that it calls for a response that is effective and achievable in the shortest time".

Responding to the report, Insurance Ireland said an urgent policy response is needed as the cost of the average award is continuing to "spiral" with the average Circuit Court award rising by nearly 50% from 2013 to 2016 - from €11,941 to €17,722.

CEO of Insurance Ireland Kevin Thompson said, "It is also clear that the Irish public supports reform as according to a nationally representative poll conducted by Ipsos MRBI in January, 78% of Irish people would support proposals to reduce personal injury award levels."

However, the Law Society of Ireland has expressed concern with Director General Ken Murphy saying that lower damages did not automatically mean lower premiums.

"Simply reducing damages takes money away from those who suffer injuries through no fault of their own and puts it in the pockets of the already very profitable insurance companies.

Meanwhile the PIC's first report last November called for a standardised medical assesment procedure to be adopted by "mid 2018".

In a statement the Irish College of General Practitioners said that delivery of a "Medical Report Template" was still being worked on as was suitable training for doctors.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform welcomed the report's publication, but demanded immediate action from Government on its recommendations.

The alliance said an urgent overhaul of the award levels in the Book of Quantum was required to ensure consistency between judges and with international norms.

The book sets out guidelines on amounts payable in compensation for particular injuries.

It also welcomes the recommendation of the establishment of a Fraud Investigation Bureau along the lines of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department in the UK.