No insurance fraudster ever prosecuted after claim thrown out of court, Dáil hears

FF calls for dismissed court insurance claims to be referred to DPP

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: said the Government had done much work in relation to insurance fraud.  File Photograph: Aoife Moore/PA Wire

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: said the Government had done much work in relation to insurance fraud. File Photograph: Aoife Moore/PA Wire

 

There has never been a prosecution in Ireland of anyone whose insurance claim has been proven in court cases as fraudulent, it has been claimed.

Fianna Fáil jobs enterprise and innovation spokesman Billy Kelleher called for the establishment of a dedicated Garda insurance fraud squad.

And he said that any insurance claim that was dismissed in court as fraudulent should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“When we don’t prosecute we are simply sending out a message of encouragement of other chancers,” he said.

Mr Kelleher was speaking as he introduced his Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill to ensure prosecution of insurance fraudsters.

“We cannot allow a situation where we consistently turn a blind eye almost to the point where we applaud these chancers,” he said.

Insurance fraud was not a victimless crime he said, because there were so many young people who could not get car insurance and so many businesses whose insurance cost as much as their income.

Endemic

He said there might be challenges but he called on the Government to support the Bill to root out this endemic practice.

Mr Kelleher said: “There has never been a prosecution in terms of fraudulent court cases where evidence is being presented. There is no referral to the DPP and because we don’t have a dedicated Garda insurance fraud squad, which is something that I encourage the Minister to address, we can’t prosecute these crimes.”

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he welcomed Mr Kelleher’s initiative and said the Government would support the Bill although it would require substantial amendment.

He said the Government had done much work in relation to insurance fraud and new guidelines for reporting insurance fraud claims had been published on Monday and he intended amending the legislation.

Mr Flanagan said it is an offence to give dishonest information with the intention of misleading the court.

He said he was acutely aware of this issue and previous reports and recommendations had been made on the issue by a working group of all relevant departments.

In addition the Department of Finance had convened a fraud round table and it was developing a number of responses in relation to insurance fraud.