RGDATA and AIR have welcomed the announcement that a new Garda Insurance Fraud Unit is being established. “RGDATA welcomes the news that finally this unit is being established as part of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau. As soon as details are available, we will inform members about this new service,” Tara Buckley commented.
The government published the first implementation report of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform in July, showing 50% of actions have been implemented in the first 6 months of the plan.
The new Personal Injuries Guidelines are having an impact, with preliminary data from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) indicating that the average award has decreased by approximately 50%. Furthermore, 78% of PIAB awards are now €15,000 or less compared to 30% in 2020.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, said “We published this plan to bring down the cost and increase the availability of insurance for businesses, consumers and community and voluntary groups. I’m really happy to see that today, 6 months later, we can see the actions we are taking are working.
“It’s early days, but there are signs that Personal injury awards are falling – by around 50%. This is as a direct result of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines. We expect this dramatic drop to be reflected in premiums over the next year and we will be following this up with insurance companies.
“While this progress is welcome, we are committed to doing more to reduce insurance costs and increase availability. Insurance reform is one of my top priorities as Tánaiste. In the coming months we will implement an ambitious programme of legislative reform to strengthen PIAB and the CCPC. We will also enhance the National Claims Information Database, look to publish more frequent data and develop measures in relation to fraud and occupier’s liability.”
The Action Plan for Insurance Reform published in December 2020 sets out 66 actions across Government to make Ireland’s insurance sector more competitive and consumer-friendly.
Implementation of the Plan is on track with 34 actions already completed and a further 21 actions due to be completed this year.
Policyholders can now go direct to gardaí over fake insurance claims – with a new Garda unit specialising in fake insurance claims.
Insurance policyholders who suspect they are the victim of a fraudulent claim will be able to bypass their insurer and report their suspicions directly to the gardaí with the launch next month of a new centralised Garda unit to tackle bogus claims.
Insurance companies have long been accused of not doing enough to tackle fraud, and reported just 48 suspected bogus claims between them to the gardaí last year, down from 63 the previous year.
They are prepared to tolerate it as they often settle cases and pass on the cost to policyholders, campaigners claim.
The creation of the new unit is expected to be a massive deterrent to anyone considering making a fictitious or exaggerated claim.
The new Insurance Fraud Coordination Office (IFCO) will be under the control of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB)
Insurers have blamed soaring premiums and a reluctance to insure businesses with high footfall on fraudulent claims and high injury payouts.
The new unit will see the GNECB having an overarching role in the fight against false claims. The idea is to have the bureau vet and assess all suspected fraudulent claims.
Keeping the pressure on
RGDATA is continuing to pressure Government to ensure that shop insurance premiums are significantly reduced as a result of the many insurance reforms and interventions completed to date. RGDATA and the Alliance for Insurance Reform have identified the key actions that Government must complete with regard to rebalancing Duty of Care and ensuring reforms lead to reduced premiums for all.