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Thursday 18 October 2018

Action group calls for insurance fraud garda unit to be set up immediately

'The Government's Cost of Insurance Working Group has recommended that a dedicated garda unit be set up to focus exclusively on insurance fraud.' (file photo)
'The Government's Cost of Insurance Working Group has recommended that a dedicated garda unit be set up to focus exclusively on insurance fraud.' (file photo)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Businesses are demanding that a specialist garda unit to investigate false insurance claims be set up without delay.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform, made up of companies and charities hit by massive premium hikes, also wants claimants to have just one year to make a claim instead of two.

Speaking at an Oireachtas Committee, Peter Boland of the alliance said there was also a need for false cases to be immediately referred to the gardaí.

The group also wants what it says should be a "meaningful" measure put in place to force insurers to inform policyholders if there are large increases in premiums.

The Government's Cost of Insurance Working Group has recommended that a dedicated garda unit be set up to focus exclusively on insurance fraud.

It would be funded by the insurance industry.

Mr Boland told the Oireachtas Business, Enterprise and Innovation Committee that the new insurance fraud unit should be set up immediately.

But he said he was told by Junior Finance Minister Michael D'Darcy, who chairs the working group, that there is not enough support in the Dáil for the setting up of a fraud unit.

"If this is the case, we urge any opposing parties to clarify their concerns and resolve whatever blockages exist," Mr Boland said.

Last November, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan told an insurance conference that plans to set up a specialist unit within the gardaí to fight insurance fraud were at an advanced stage.

"While this proposal is not without its challenges, I understand that talks between Insurance Ireland and the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau about the initial proposal are at an advanced stage," he told the Insurance Ireland annual fraud conference.

The idea is to set up a counter-fraud unit modelled on the UK's industry-funded Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department at the City of London Police.

Meanwhile, business body Isme said it wants personal injuries awards here to be benchmarked against those paid in other countries.

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