Committee hears insurance sector may provide resources to gardaí investigating insurance fraud

Committee hears insurance sector may provide resources to gardaí investigating insurance fraud
Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey.

Insurance companies may be asked to provide financial support to help fund investigations into fraudulent claims.

The Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey told the Oireachtas Finance Committee the force has already rejected the idea of a privately funded specialist unit.

However, he said the industry could help out with investigations in terms of IT software, training and analysis.

The Deputy Garda Commissioner said there is no question of private money being used to resource the Gardaí.

He said: "There will be a cost incurred in providing the data because we will want that in a certain format so that we can work with it.

"But, I suppose just to be clear, we are making a very clear distinction, we are not in favour of a privately-funded unit in this area.

"We don't feel that we are going across the divide here in terms of what we are suggesting."

Earlier, the committee heard that 50 reports of alleged fraud have been passed on to gardaí by insurance companies since October of last year.

Gardaí say they now have three major investigations underway into 60 separate claims.

Deputy Commissioner Twomey told the committee the burden of proof is much higher in criminal cases and this makes it difficult to prosecute insurance fraud.

He said: "There is threshold required to even start an investigation, not alone get to the successful stage of doing a file to the DPP and to succeed with a prosecution, so it is a difficult one for the insurance companies or the banks or anyone else dealing with the financial world to reach that threshold."

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