Longford/Westmeath Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Robert Troy, has said that Government inaction and a lack of appetite to tackle insurance fraud has led to a culture whereby people are incentivised to take claims.
Deputy Troy was responding to the Irish Independent investigation and undercover report which found that in some cases GPs encouraged people to take claims and recommended solicitors to them, while some solicitors encouraged clients to visit certain GPs and asked for amended GP reports.
Deputy Troy said, “Firstly, this is not a widespread practice and I know there are many GPs and solicitors who are appalled by this story. They too are experiencing higher insurance premiums and public liability costs as a result of the sky-rocketing cost of insurance.
“We know that one of the main reasons for the excessive insurance premiums being foisted upon businesses the length and breadth of the country, is as a result of insurance fraud and false claims. Massive settlements are being made, in many cases unbeknownst to the insurance holder, and this is driving up the cost of insurance for everyone.
“While I absolutely acknowledge that compensation is only right where there are genuine cases, all too often we hear of monumental pay-outs for what can only be described as very minor incidents.
“This investigation has highlighted that an insidious cabal exists between a minority of GPs and solicitors who are the big winners out of this. They have been free to carry out their fraudulent activities as a result of Government lethargy.
“In 2018 Fianna Fáil introduced a Bill to tackle insurance fraud. It would provide that where a court dismisses a case on the basis that it is a fraudulent action, the court must refer the matter to the DPP. It would also mandate that legal costs be paid by the claimant.
“In March, Minister Flanagan indicted that Government would bring forward a memorandum with a decision on progressing the Bill or not by the end of that month. Here we are in November, and having written to the Minister multiple times since, there is still no movement on the matter.
“Over a year since the Bill was introduced it is unconscionable that Government continues to obstruct it, despite the support it received and the pleas from all corners, to progress it and tackle insurance fraud once and for all.
“Finally, representative bodies of the GP and solicitor practices involved in this fraud need to investigate. These people are bringing their professions into disrepute,” he concluded.