Sunday 4 December 2016

National database of bogus insurance claims likely to be set up

Published 07/09/2016 | 02:30

Minister Eoghan Murphy
Minister Eoghan Murphy

A NATIONAL database of insurance claims is likely to emerge as one of the key initiatives of a Government working group looking into spiralling motor insurance costs.

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There is also likely to be a recommendation that we move in the next few years to paying for the care and treatment of accident victims rather than paying them a lump sum. Known as "care, not cash" this would cut legal costs and reduce spurious claims. The changes being considered have come to light ahead of an Oireachtas Committee which begins hearings today on the cost of motor cover.

There is no national database of claims, making fraudulent claims harder to track. Insurers each have their own claims database. And lobby group Insurance Ireland has a database called Insurance Link, which allows users to compare recorded claims with claims history information provided by new claimants against policy-holders.

However, because of data protection rules the policyholders cannot be named on this insurers' database.

The Government's working group on the cost of insurance, headed up by Minister of State Eoghan Murphy, is likely to recommend that data protection legislation be amended to allow names to be shared on a national claims database. Such databases operate in other jurisdictions.

Such a database would be likely to be operated by a state body, such as the Injuries Board.

It would become immediately obvious from consulting this resource which drivers were making repeat claims, making it easier to tackle fraud rings, sources close to the industry said. Insurance fraudsters add €50 to the average motorist's premium. Another €35 is added to the average premium from uninsured and untraced drivers who have accidents.

A data-sharing initiative would be likely to make it easier to uncover uninsured drivers, as details on each car and driver, covering motor tax, insurance records and NCT details, would be stored on a national database.

See also 'Ease The Squeeze' on pages 14 and 15 in news

Irish Independent

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