Govt abandons plans for dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit

Plans for a dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit have been abandoned.

A letter from the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to TD John Curran said a more general anti-fraud approach is being adopted instead.

Mr Flanagan said the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau will guide divisions and provide training in the investigation of insurance fraud.

Minister Flanagan said: "The Garda Commissioner is of the view, with regard to fraud investigations including insurance fraud, that a divisional focus is preferable rather than the establishment of a centralised investigation unit.

"This approach is aligned with a general divisional-focused Garda model. It is the intention of the Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) will guide divisions and provide training in the investigation of insurance fraud."

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, said that the Government has "fudged" on their promise of a specialised insurance fraud unit but urge the Government to use personal injury funds to get the plan going.

He said: "After two years of delay, it now appears that a fudge is being developed by way of generalised divisional fraud units. If the highly-specialised and technical crime of insurance fraud is to be properly tackled, this structure must at very least have a properly-funded, specialised unit at headquarters level coordinating a specific response to insurance fraud.

"Not only would such a structure provide a dedicated channel for complaints and prosecutions regarding insurance fraud, but it would act as a clear deterrent to anyone considering lodging a fraudulent or exaggerated insurance claim.

"The key to successfully tackling insurance fraud is resources. If what has been announced is just part of a restructuring with no new resources then we can have little confidence that insurance fraud will get the priority it deserves.

The Personal Injuries Assessment Board has reserves of over €17,000,000 which consists primarily of fees paid by policyholders against whom claims have been lodged.

"So it would make absolute sense that the Government use these funds to establish a dedicated Garda unit that would be central to the fight against fraudulent claims."

More on this topic

Fines of €100,000 or jail for insurance fraud

Survey finds average 200% rise in insurance for businesses and charities

Combined profits at 17 insurance firms rise by more than 1,300% in a year

Banks failing to deliver home insurance value

More in this Section

Two Irish people scoop €500k in EuroMillions Plus

Man arrested following discovery of woman's body in Westport

'I got a second chance at life': Breast cancer survivor who left school at 17 graduates from Trinity

Gardaí appeal for witnesses of alleged racial abuse on train


Lifestyle

John McCarthy gives standout performance but Evening Train takes safe route

The Currabinny cooks celebrate the courgette

Cork city in the rare oul’ times

What next for Madonna?

More From The Irish Examiner