Thursday, 22 November 2018

Questions (14)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

14. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his plans to amend the recommendations in the Cost of Insurance Working Group plan that a publicly funded Garda anti-fraud unit to deal with insurance fraud be put in place. [48599/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy is aware, recommendation 26 of the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance calls for An Garda Síochána to explore the potential for further cooperation between it and the insurance sector in relation to insurance fraud investigation. In this regard, one measure which the Working Group considered as part of the Report was the establishment of a dedicated team within An Garda Síochána to tackle insurance fraud based on the UK model which is funded by the insurance industry. At this juncture, there are no plans to amend the recommendations of the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report in relation to the issue of the establishment of a Garda anti-fraud unit.

I, as Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, have no role in relation to the parameters of a proposed Garda Fraud Unit or how it might be funded. I understand that, at this stage, the Garda Commissioner has yet to form a view on the recommendation, and that no proposal or recommendation has yet been submitted to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr. Charlie Flanagan, T.D. It will then be a matter for Minister Flanagan, on foot of a recommendation from the Garda Commissioner, to decide whether the establishment of the proposed unit is something which should be pursued.

Aside from consideration of the feasibility of a fraud unit, there has been significant progress in enhancing the level of engagement and cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the insurance industry. Part of this arose from the Fraud Roundtable, which was hosted by the Department of Finance and which involved wide stakeholder consultation. A key output from this process was the agreement of guidelines titled“Guidelines for the Reporting of Suspected Fraudulent Insurance Claims by Insurance Entities to An Garda Síochána”, which were published on 1st October.

Another important output of this engagement is the commitment for the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and Insurance Ireland’s Anti-Fraud Forum to meet on a regular basis in order to discuss and act upon current and ongoing general issues which arise in the area of insurance fraud. This enhanced cooperation, I believe, will be very important going forward in tackling the issue of fraudulent claims.

Question No. 15 answered with Question No. 9.