Categories: Press Releases

by Brian Hanley

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PRESS RELEASE

24th October 2023

EMBARGOED UNTIL 12:30PM, 24th OCTOBER 2023

 

“Significant protocol to be signed today for reporting suspected insurance fraud.”

  • Insurance companies must increase their fraud investigation resources and adopt a policy of refusing to settle suspect claims – “There is little point in decrying them otherwise.”
  • This protocol sets out the process for the reporting of suspected insurance fraud and is intended to ensure a co-ordinated, uniform and consistent approach to reporting, recording, assessment and investigation of suspected Insurance Fraud offences. It is yet another reform of the Irish insurance landscape.
  • Fraudulent and exaggerated claims harm businesses and communities.

Speaking today the Chair of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, Padraig Cribben said: “the Memorandum of Understanding signed today represents another important step in reforming the insurance landscape in Ireland. The new protocol for reporting suspected fraudulent claims will provide for a more streamlined and consistent approach in tackling this issue. The Gardaí’s proactive approach in developing the MOU should be positively acknowledged by all with a stake in insurance reform. Unfair claims are not a victimless pursuit — they harm all of us.”

He continued: “As Minister Carroll MacNeill recently put it[1] “We cannot be strong enough when it comes to fraud” and the approach of the Gardaí to this issue needs to be replicated by insurance companies. They need to challenge more suspect claims in Court. To settle is short-term thinking and denies them and us the benefits to be derived from a more robust examination of suspect claims.”

Alliance CEO Brian Hanley commented: “insurance companies have considerable resources, and it is vital that a meaningful portion of those resources go towards investigating and challenging suspect claims. There is little point in decrying them otherwise. Insurers often speak about the harm such claims cause and yet it is questionable how much resources they truly invest in detecting it.”

“Today’s signing marks yet further progress in reforming the insurance landscape in Ireland, which includes the introduction of the Judicial Guidelines to replace the Book of Quantum, PIAB reforms and the recent amendments to the duty of care. These reforms mean that Ireland is a much more enticing marketplace for prospective insurers but they also mean that the significant savings the reforms have brought about should have been shared with hard-pressed policy holders too. The judicial guidelines for example, were not written solely for the benefit of insurers, and it is past time that policy holders, particularly those holding public liability policies, started benefiting from the reforms.”

In this regard, Padraig Cribben welcomed comments by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar where he said: “Implementing actions alone is not the marker of success – lower premiums and wider availability of insurance are.”

The MOU signed today by the Alliance for Insurance Reform, Insurance Ireland, and the Gardaí must reflect and facilitate the societal shift needed in how we address unfair, exaggerated and fraudulent claims.

—ENDS—

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: contact@insurancereform.ie or Alliance CEO, Brian Hanley at 086 8620 974.

Notes:

  1. The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed at the Department of Finance at 11:30am (approx.) today in the presence of the Minister with special responsibility for insurance, Jennifer Carroll MacNeill TD. The signatories to the memorandum are the Gardaí, Insurance Ireland and the Alliance for Insurance Reform.

 

  1. In 2021 the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) established a dedicated office which will take all reports of alleged insurance fraud. Staff in the office will assess the complaint and determine whether a criminal offence is disclosed and whether a criminal investigation is warranted. This office will also decide where this complaint should be investigated. This means that there is a consistency and uniformity in how insurance fraud is reported, how it is assessed, how it is recorded and where it is reported. The MOU signed today by the Alliance for Insurance Reform on behalf of its members and Insurance Ireland should facilitate and improve the reporting of instances of insurance fraud by providing them with a uniform and clear means by which they can report such alleged crimes.

 

  1. Alliance for Insurance Reform

The Alliance for Insurance Reform brings together 48 civic and business organisations from across Ireland, representing over 55,000 members, 700,000 employees, 614,000 volunteers and 374,000 students in highlighting the negative impact of persistently high premiums and calling for real reforms that will quickly reduce liability and motor insurance premiums to affordable levels and keep them that way.

  1. Reforms to date
  • In March 2021, the Judicial Guidelines were introduced, replacing the Book of Quantum for the assessment of awards in personal injury cases. The Guidelines provided more detailed guidance in the assessment of awards and have contributed significantly to reducing awards to levels seen in other European countries by more accurately ascribing specific values to specific claims.
  • In 2021 the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) established a dedicated office which will take all reports of alleged insurance fraud for initial consideration. According to the CSO, there were 98 insurance fraud cases recorded by An Garda Síochána in 2022, compared to 18,453 personal injury claims in the same year. That is half of one percent yet insurers have regularly insisted that up to 20pc of claims are fraudulent. Insurers expect An Garda Síochána to step up to the mark in detecting it, but with very few exceptions, they are not prepared to invest in detection or reporting themselves.
  • The volume of claims and size of awards have dropped considerably in recent years without any noticeable improvement in public liability premiums:
    1. The recent Court Service Annual Report for 2022 found that new personal injury cases fell by more than 40% in the last four years.
    2. The total number of personal injury claims submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) continues to fall. It is now down by 46% between 2016 and 2022.
    3. The average PIAB public liability assessment is -39% compared to the average 2020 assessment under the old Book of Quantum.
    4. Published in July, the NCID mid-year data report on public liability by the Central Bank found a 12% reduction in the total cost of settled injury claims to H1 2022 from the 2015-2019 pre-Covid average.
  1. Alliance Enough Is Enough campaign

In August, the Alliance launched its Enough is Enough campaign to highlight the harm caused by unfair claims across our society.

  1. Members of the Alliance include:
  • AOIFE Ireland (Association of Irish Festival Events)
  • Car Rental Council of Ireland
  • Childminding Ireland
  • Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland
  • Community Reuse Network Ireland
  • Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association
  • Cork Business Association
  • Disability Federation of Ireland
  • Early Childhood Ireland
  • Family Business Network Ireland
  • Federation of Irish Sport
  • Galway Chamber
  • Galway City Business Association
  • Galway County Public Participation Network (PPN)
  • Historic Houses of Ireland
  • Home and Community Care Ireland
  • Incoming Tour Operators Association Ireland
  • Ireland Active
  • Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism
  • Irish Caravan and Camping Council
  • Irish Charity Shops Association
  • Irish Concrete Federation
  • Irish Contract Cleaning Association
  • Irish Hotels Federation
  • Irish Road Haulage Association
  • Irish Showman’s Guild
  • Irish Street Arts, Circus and Spectacle Network
  • Irish Travel Agents Association
  • Irish Waste Management Association
  • ISME
  • Licensed Vintners Association
  • Motorsport Ireland
  • National Campaign for the Arts
  • Nursing Homes Ireland
  • Play Activity and Leisure Ireland
  • Quick Service Food Alliance
  • Restaurants Association of Ireland
  • Retail Excellence
  • RGDATA
  • Sligo PPN
  • Society of the Irish Motor Industry
  • South Dublin County PPN
  • Sport Ireland
  • Theatre Forum
  • Union of Students in Ireland
  • Vintners Federation of Ireland
  • Volunteer Ireland
  • The Wheel (Ireland’s national association for community, voluntary and charitable organisations)

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piJMJFoAbWY