Insurance industry to fund new garda fraud unit

Proposal a “sea change” in tackling fraud claims, insurance industry says

It is estimated fraudulent claims add on average €50 to insurance premiums a year.

It is estimated fraudulent claims add on average €50 to insurance premiums a year.

 

A new Garda fraud unit set up to tackle bogus insurance claims, will be funded by the insurance industry.

The new unit will be a “sea change in efforts to fight fraud,” according to Insurance Ireland director of government affairs Declan Jackson.

A similar scheme was set up in London with great success, Mr Jackson told Newstalk Breakfast.

The dedicated police squad in London “works day in, day out” on insurance fraud which indicates the extent of the problem, he said. “They deal with a huge volume of cases,” he said.

A Government sub-group tasked with looking into insurance costs recommended the dedicated fraud unit should be set up, funded by the insurance industry. The Department of Finance working group was set up in July 2016, to address the issue of rising insurance premiums.

Mr Jackson said the industry was happy to assist in setting up the dedicated unit within the Gardaí to deal with insurance fraud. There are serious issues that need to be ironed out, he added.

Ireland is “totally out of kilter” with other countries in relation to insurance fraud and the amounts being awarded in court cases, he said.

There is a moral responsibility on everyone with regard to insurance fraud Mr Jackson added.

It is estimated fraudulent claims add on average €50 to insurance premiums a year.

When asked if judges had a responsibility to refer claim cases that fail for further investigation, Mr Jackson said there was a moral responsibility on everyone involved in the system to “get tough” to combat insurance fraud.

The people involved in insurance fraud are “very clever and are doing it for financial reasons,” he said.

Last July several motor insurance companies’ offices were raided as part of an anti-cartel investigation, led by the European Competition Directorate.