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'We're really cracking down on this': Motor insurance body in favour of tougher powers for prosecuting fraudsters

The Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland says that one in eight of the claims it processes are ‘suspicious’.

shutterstock_548860915 File photo Source: Shutterstock/Nikolay Gyngazov

THE HEAD OF Ireland’s main body for motor insurance payouts has said he is broadly in favour of tougher laws being introduced to help cut down on fraud.

Today, the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has published a report into fraud which suggests that one in every eight Irish motor insurance claims is ‘suspicious’.

Meanwhile, there are reports this morning that suggest the Department of Justice is contemplating strengthening the legal status of insurance claim forms so that lying on a claim would amount to perjury – thus increasing the possibility of a file or jail term for offenders.

“If this new offence makes it easier to prosecute those cases we’d very much welcome it,” MIBI chief executive David Fitzgerald told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier today, adding that there are already considerable powers in place but that cases of fraud are “quite difficult” to prosecute.

“We’re getting much tougher on this,” he said.

All claims are to be thoroughly investigated, and if we have a suspicion then we’re prepared to fight.

Asked how a fraudulent claim betrays itself, Fitzgerald said “it’s a case where the facts of a claim as presented don’t look plausible, where the facts just don’t add up”.

“With the launch today we’re saying that from now we’re going to be taking a zero tolerance approach. We’re getting tough on suspicious claims, and we’re launching commitments to tackle those claims,” he said.

We’re putting resources, people and technology, into the area, and we’ll be making sure that suspicious claims are thoroughly investigated. We’re saying that we’re prepared to fight those claims and to go to court if necessary.
We’ll be taking a much more holistic, coordinated approach with all insurance service providers. We’ll have centralised resources to ensure that best practice is applied to every claim that comes through.

Fitzgerald says that the bureau has saved €2 million in fraudulent claims thus far in 2017, with a further 160 suspicious cases earmarked for investigation.

“We’re really cracking down on this now. They won’t be getting an easy ride from the bureau,” he said.

“It’s not just about the financials. We’re looking to make Irish roads safer.”

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