Fifteen months on since the publication of the Government’s Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance and there is still no progress on the establishment of a single purpose unit within An Garda Síochána to tackle insurance fraud, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD.

Deputy McGrath commented, “While insurance fraud is only one factor in rising premiums, it is undoubtedly the case that exaggerated and fraudulent claims have a direct effect on the price of insurance cover being charged on individuals, households and businesses.

“In the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report of January 2017, it was recommended that ‘consideration be given to the feasibility of a specialised and dedicated insurance fraud unit within An Garda Síochána, funded by industry’. According to the Second Quarterly Update in July of 2017, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau had submitted a fully costed proposal to Insurance Ireland on the potential for establishing a unit within An Garda Síochána to tackle insurance fraud.

“As of October last year, Insurance Ireland agreed to this proposal ‘in principle’. However, there is still no further update on the development of this fraud unit. We now need to the Department of Justice and Equality to work with An Garda Síochána in order to sign off on this proposal and establish this unit.  Insurance fraud is a very serious issue and it is galling for individual policyholders who are seeing exorbitant increases in their premiums.

“People who engage in insurance fraud and claims exaggeration must be let know that there are serious consequences to their actions.  Insurance companies here too need to step up to the plate.  They need to stop settling cases that they know to be fraudulent or exaggerated.  These cases need to be challenged and they need to be brought in front of the courts. We also need data on the number of prosecutions taken and the number of convictions secured for insurance fraud,” concluded McGrath.