Monday 14 October 2019

Insurance fraudsters to face jail terms under new perjury laws

Minister Charlie Flanagan
Minister Charlie Flanagan
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

New laws to clamp down on insurance fraud would see people found guilty of perjury face up to 10 years in prison and fines of €100,000, under proposals by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Mr Flanagan is hoping to make the offence easier to prosecute.

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Legislation is being drawn up by independent senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh under the Perjury and Related Offences Bill. Perjury is a common-law offence but it is rarely prosecuted.

Business groups say they support the measures.

Jonathan Hehir, managing director of CFM Group insurance brokers, said they could help save small firms from going out of business.

"There are currently very few deterrents for insurance fraudsters - it's simply a matter of win or lose when it comes to taking cases in the courts. But if there were a third outcome in the mix - win, lose or prosecute, then this small but impactful cohort of people, who see insurance crime as an easy route to cash, might think twice before entering the courts."

Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath called for the country's insurance database to be removed from the control of the industry's representative body and put in State control.

The European Commission has launched an anti-trust investigation into Insurance Ireland, the body operating the sensitive and valuable database of information for the Irish insurance market, to assess whether it restricts competition.

"It is time that this information was removed from the industry's control," he said.

Irish Independent

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