Beware of ‘ghost brokers’ offering cheap insurance, consumers warned

Brokers Ireland welcomes first conviction in the State for fraudulently selling policies

If an insurance quote seems too good to be true, ‘it usually transpires that it is’. Photograph: iStock

If an insurance quote seems too good to be true, ‘it usually transpires that it is’. Photograph: iStock

 

Industry group Brokers Ireland has welcomed the first conviction in Ireland of a “ghost broker”, and has urged consumers to check the authenticity of any person or company selling or administering insurance policies.

Ghost brokers are professional fraudsters selling forged or invalid discounted insurance policies to unsuspecting consumers. They usually advertise their services online or within local communities, typically claiming to be able to secure you a cheap motor insurance policy.

Last week, Martin Hanudel was convicted at Trim Circuit Court after a Garda investigation revealed he was selling forged and invalid discounted insurance to people on Facebook.

Industry body Brokers Ireland has welcomed the news, and warned members of the public to be alert to the practice.

Cathie Shannon, director of general insurance at Brokers Ireland, said: “Fraudsters often target young or what might be considered more vulnerable consumers, often foreign nationals who are not clear on how the insurance market works in Ireland and who may not have a good command of the English language.”

One of the most obvious signals that all is not right is a quote that “seems too good to be true”.

“If it seems too good to be true it usually transpires that it is. This opens up the prospect of serious consequences when the unexpected or unwanted happens,” Ms Shannon said.

Consumers can check the legitimacy of a broker via brokersireland.ie or through the Central Bank’s register of authorised financial services providers here.