Making false insurance claims should be as “unacceptable as smoking indoors”, a group representing insurers has said.
Yesterday, a new protocol creating a dedicated Garda office to deal with insurance fraud was signed off on.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Alliance for Insurance Reform CEO Brian Hanley described it as a “positive development” that will benefit society.
“By having one central office where this can be reported, it is intended to ensure a more coordinated and consistent approach in how they are considered and then investigated by the Gardaí,” he said.
“Which I think is a positive development because unfair claims are not a victimless pursuit; they harm motorists, businesses, charities and voluntary groups - they harm communities.
“Such claims can hang over someone or their business for many years and directly impact on their premiums.”
Here is the 3rd Alliance Blog on tools that can be deployed by defendants in personal injury cases that are fraudulent, exaggerated or vexatious, or are pure try-ons.
This one is on reporting fraud to the new Garda Insurance Fraud Coordination Office.https://t.co/cCv1NAWIpw pic.twitter.com/CGa4AxM0D6
— Alliance For Insurance Reform (@InsuranceRefIre) January 19, 2022
Mr Hanley said making false insurance claims is considered unacceptable “in the main” but far too many people are ambivalent about the issue.
“While the majority of people wouldn’t consider doing something like this, there’s maybe a blind eye turned to those that we know that might do something like that,” he said.
“I think that where the change needs to come about and that’s where… those actions need to become socially unacceptable and as unacceptable as smoking indoors has become.”
'Particular onus on insurance companies'
Last year, there were 18,000 personal injury claims - of which only 98 were found to be fraudulent; Mr Hanley suspects many false claims are never uncovered and urged companies to be more vigilant.
“I think there’s a particular onus on insurance companies not to settle suspect claims,” he said.
“To do so is short-term thinking and denies them and us the benefits of contesting such claims.
“I also think insurance companies need to better resource their fraud detection units.”
An Garda Síochána advises anyone who believes they are the victim of fraud to report it to their local Garda station and bring any supporting evidence, such as emails, with them.
Main image: Split of an insurance claim and an ash tray. Pictures by: Alamy.com