Insurance fraud group criticises Government over delays

Insurance fraud group criticises Government over delays

A business-backed group urging a crackdown on insurance fraud has criticised the Government for ongoing delays in the establishment of a dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit.

The Alliance for Insurance Reform (AIR) said the dedicated unit had been Government policy for over two years, but has been delayed by “a year-long cost-benefit analysis and a pointless debate over how it should be funded”.

Michael D’Arcy, minister of state with responsibility for insurance, told the Dáil last week that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris had object to proposals for a dedicated unit funded by the insurance industry, but a plan to establish an insurance fraud section within the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) was now “being considered”.

Mr D’Arcy added: “I have stated publicly on a number of occasions that the single biggest issue is the levels of award.”

He said legislation to establish a Judicial Council, which would result in lower awards, would be in the Seanad at committee stage before the end of the month.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, said: “We now wonder whether the Government is serious about insurance reform at all.

“Over 30 members of the Alliance, all policyholders facing enormous premium increases for their businesses and voluntary groups, spent [last Wednesday] afternoon in Dáil Éireann listening to a debate between the Minister responsible for insurance, Michael D’Arcy and the opposition, on a motion tabled by Michael McGrath of Fianna Fáil.

“We heard no news of real progress from the Minister. Increasingly, there is evidence to suggest that insurance reform is not a priority for the Government despite the damage insurance costs are causing to communities, charities, sporting organisations, arts groups and small businesses all over the country. This is an issue the Alliance and its 36,000 member organisations and their 639,000 employees will be pressing hard in the run-up to local elections in May.”

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