A national register of individuals with a history of making insurance claims should be established to weed out “scam artists” and to help combat rising insurance costs.
This is the view of Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish, who has called for the establishment of such a national register, saying it would flag claims by “serial claimants” which could then be “fully investigated” and help “stop insurance costs for shops and businesses spiralling out of control”.
The Carnmore based politician said false claims and rising insurance costs are linked, and added hikes in insurance rates are a “threat to jobs and to the growth of businesses that are just coming out of a recession”.
Dep Grealish cited one long established Galway business has seen its insurance bills “rocket from €20,000 in 2015” to €50,000 the following year and then to €102,000 in 2017. He described this as “an unbelievable increase” which would prevent the business in question from “expanding and growing, which in turn impacts on job creation”.
While he acknowledged that several factors are at play with regards to rising insurance costs, he said “false claims are a contributor” and that the insurance industry “needs to do more to stamp out this kind of practice”.
“All too often claims are settled on the basis that it’s cheaper to pay out than contest them through the courts,” he said “but this kind of attitude has only emboldened people making money out of bogus claims and encouraged others to follow their lead. And who pays for this at the end of the day, only the shops and other businesses who see their insurance premiums jump as a result.”
Dep Grealish is now calling on the Government, in conjunction with insurance companies, to establish his proposed national register of claims, saying it would be “a red flag” and an indication that second claims should be “further probed” and every resource put towards “thoroughly investigating that claim and the person behind it”.
“Such an approach might be expensive initially for the insurance companies,” he said, “but I firmly believe it would pay for itself in the long run, with a substantial reduction in claims.”