Sunday 25 August 2019

Fear over data breaches halts database to find insurance fraudsters

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stock photo
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

The Government's plan to establish a claims database which would help to clamp down on fraudulent insurance claims has been halted over concerns on data protection.

The database was planned to include details of people making multiple claims and give more information to defendants about claimants.

It had been hoped a central registrar with names, addresses and occupations of claimants in an insurance claim would be stored in a central database.

However, plans for this system have been halted over data protection concerns as well as the strain it would have on court resources, according to RTÉ.

The database was due to be introduced under a section of the Civil Liability and Courts Act, allowing for those with "sufficient interest" to access relevant information.

But a review of the act, carried out by the Department of Justice and submitted to the Department of Finance, found this would cause issues at a technical level and waste already stretched resources.

It also concluded the Courts Services compiles data across 75 individual databases, and an entire new system would need to be developed.

Issues around GDPR are also understood to be a cause for concern and the act might have to be amended to make it compliant.

The database was proposed following a significant rise in insurance premiums.

Last year, similar concerns around data protection led to delays around the database being established.

Insurance companies have their own register of personal injury claims

Campaigners for insurance reform have called for this database to be taken away from the industry and transferred to the Central Bank.

Earlier this year, the Alliance for Insurance Reform questioned whether it was appropriate for the industry to have control of such a database.

It followed a probe into the use of the database by Insurance Ireland, with claims of cartel-like activity by insurers.

The alliance called for control of the InsuranceLink database to be transferred to the State, by handing it over to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board or the Central Bank.

The EU Commission opened a formal investigation into whether Insurance Ireland, the representative body for the industry, is operating a cartel by restricting access to the database.

Other plans previously mooted by a government working group to combat insurance fraud was the establishment of a special Garda unit dedicated to probing insurance fraud and funded by insurers.

Irish Independent

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