I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 and 219 together.
The database referenced by the Deputy is a claims matching database currently run by Insurance Ireland to assist its members in the detection and defence of potentially fraudulent claims. The Cost of Insurance Working Group( CIWG) examined this database with a view to determining how effective it was from an operational perspective. It concluded that in light of the limitations identified that a fully functioning integrated insurance fraud database should be established and that this would have to be managed by an independent not-for-profit body but funded by the industry. It was considered that such a database would be provided to all insurance companies participating in the Irish market for the purposes of identifying patterns of fraud.
The current position is a working group chaired by the Department of Justice and Equality is currently working on the implementation of this recommendation to develop an insurance fraud database to which all insurers will have access once complete. However, this is a complex project which needs to fully consider data protection implications and therefore it has taken more time to implement than was anticipated when the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance was published.
I agree with the view of the CIWG that a new fully functioning integrated fraud database should be established. In this regard, I believe that the State managing and controlling the existing database would be a sub-optimal solution in dealing with the issue of insurance fraud. I would note that the proposal that this new integrated fraud database be managed by an independent not-for-profit body but funded by industry, would meet the objective of removing industry’s control of the database and be more economical as the taxpayer should not have to pay for a service which is ultimately of benefit to insurers. In addition, the nature of the CIWG proposal is that it will most likely make the existing database redundant as it relates to fraud detection.
Finally, it should be noted that as Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation and therefore have no role in the operation of, or the provision of information to the organisation mentioned or this database. However as the Deputy will note from the attached link a number of the Members of the Self Insured Taskforce who have access to this database are state bodies. Details of the database can be accessed at:
http://www.insuranceireland.eu/member-services/shared-services or at: http://www.inslink.ie/