Insurance fraud is now punishable with fines of up to €100,000, and/or prison for up to ten years, warns Detective Sergeant Alan Govern of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.
Detective Sergeant Govern told the annual Insurance Conference, hosted by Ronan Daly Jermyn (RDJ) in Westin Hotel Dublin, that the Gardaí are working closely with the insurance industry to investigate people giving false or misleading evidence or verifying affidavits.
He outlined to attendees from 30 different insurance companies how they can better enable the Gardaí in prosecutions arising out of exaggerated and fraudulent personal injury claims.
Detective Sergeant Govern said: “Staged collisions, induced collisions, and deliberately contrived collisions as well as grossly exaggerated injuries and opportunistic fraud cannot be tolerated by Irish society. An Garda Síochána are committed to continuing to work in collaboration with the Insurance industry and other stakeholders to detect patterns of insurance fraud and thoroughly investigating allegations of insurance fraud.”
He reminded the audience of insurance professionals where a person is found guilty of giving false or misleading evidence or verifying affidavits they face potential fines of up to €100,000, and/or prison for up to 10 years.
Detective Sergeant Govern also advised the conference attendees on the steps that claims handlers need to take to ensure that their complaints in respect of fraudulent claims are sufficiently robust for the initiation of a subsequent prosecution.
Louise Smith, Litigation Partner at RDJ said that more prosecutions are needed as a deterrent to anyone considering lodging a fraudulent claim.
“We welcome a collaborative approach between An Garda Síochána and the insurance industry and hope that this will result in an increased number of criminal prosecutions,” she said. “We are seeing a significant increase in the number of Insurers now instructing RDJ to actively pursue plaintiffs for costs by registering judgments against their homes and by issuing District Court proceedings to apply for an attachment of earnings so that the plaintiff is bound to pay from their earnings to the insurance company until their debt is discharged.”
Other key speakers at the RDJ conference included Professor Jogin Thakore, consultant psychiatrist; David Boughton, BL; Marianne Lonergan, partner at RDJ; and John Lucey, SC.