Criminal gangs 'targeting car rental firms for compensation'
Car rental companies fear they are being targeted by criminal gangs coming to this country to stage motor crashes, TDs and senators were told.
They are lured here because awards for insurance claims are much higher than in other EU states, chief executive of the Car Rental Council of Ireland Paul Redmond told an Oireachtas Committee probing motor insurance costs.
Mr Redmond said that even in the cases where minor injuries were reported, these staged accidents would usually have multiple claimants.
Many of these claims involve criminality, with deliberately staged accidents where two cars crash into each other on an arranged basis.
There is little damage to either car but the crash usually results in multiple personal injury claims, he said.
"Such is the potential 'reward' in Ireland for personal injuries, car rental companies are suspicious that they are being targeted by criminals from other countries coming to Ireland to stage car crashes," he told the politicians.
He said the car rental business was particularly vulnerable to fraudulent and criminal activity.
This is because unsuspecting tourists who hire a car here are preyed on by criminals who know how hard it will be to get evidence for a future court cases.
A survey of members of the Car Rental Council found that member firms suspect 20pc of all claims were fraudulent.
Mr Redmond insisted that a claim payout of €5,000 in another country could end up costing more than €100,000 in Ireland.