Insurers are accused of being “distracted” by high insurance costs

THE event of the insurance fraud conference of the interest group of the insurance industry is a “distraction” from the high cost of coverage, it said.

nsurance Ireland held its tenth annual fraud conference at the convention center in Dublin earlier this week, attended by hundreds of delegates.

However, the Alliance for Insurance Reform (AIR) said official figures show a decrease in reported instances of fraudulent insurance claims and claimed the industry is not taking the problem seriously.

AIR Director Peter Boland said that since records began in 2019, the Central Statistics Office’s data on Recorded Crime Incidents of Insurance Claim Fraud suggests the scale of this crime is insignificant and rapidly declining.

The Garda Insurance Fraud Coordination Office (IFCO) was established in August 2021 under the control of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).

The office has taken over the ongoing investigation into the Garda insurance fraud and a number of files await prosecution decisions at the DPP, including files relating to lawyers and a doctor.

Mr Boland said: “Our members, the policyholders who ultimately pay for insurance fraud, are aware of the scale of insurance fraud in Ireland. It is an enormous frustration for them.

“However, the figures suggest that insurers are keen to use insurance fraud and in particular the Insurance Ireland conference to deflect criticism of insurance costs and expect the Garda Siochana to be firm in preventing this fraud but are unwilling to get involved in detection invest or self-report.”

Mr Boland claimed early signs are that insurers are not taking the process seriously.

The CSO data shows that 153 cases were reported in 2019. In 2020 it was 120, compared to just 84 last year. This means that the number of cases has fallen by 45 percent in two years.

He said this means the number of insurance fraud cases recorded is less than 1 percent of the average number of all personal injury claims.

This is despite insurance company executives claiming before an Oireachtas committee that about 20 percent of the personal injury claims they receive may be fraudulent or excessive.

But industry lobby group Insurance Ireland has strenuously dismissed suggestions the fraud conference was a distraction from high premiums.

“We reject any suggestion that the Fraud Conference is a distraction. It is an important event that has been going on for 10 years.”

Insurance Ireland said that as part of the government’s insurance reform action plan, insurers are required to work to deter and detect fraud.

It added: “The event is an opportunity to share information and advances in insurers’ anti-fraud efforts.

“Exchanging information about initiatives and activities very often prevents would-be scammers from being successful in their fraud efforts.”

Insurance Ireland insisted that its members work to deter and detect fraud and to help secure law enforcement where possible.

Insurers have invested significant resources in both specialist investigation units and claims processing to uncover fraudulent and exaggerated claims, Insurance Ireland said. Insurers are accused of being “distracted” by high insurance costs

Fry Electronics Team

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