November 19, 2019
Insurance Ireland should address public disinformation campaign waged by insurance companies – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has called on Insurance Ireland to come clean on the activities of insurance companies in the Irish market at today’s annual conference in the Convention Centre in Dublin.

Deputy Doherty said that while Sinn Féin want to see the establishment of the Personal Injuries Commission immediately, and would set up a stand-alone Garda Insurance Fraud Unit, the industry is waging a public disinformation campaign on fraudulent claims.

Speaking today, the Donegal TD said:

“The insurance industry has waged a public disinformation campaign on the level of fraudulent claims to justify the extortionate premiums it is charging consumers.

“Companies have repeatedly said that 20 percent of all claims are fraudulent and are causing premiums to rise. But under questioning at the Finance Committee it was revealed to me that companies only report a small fraction of claims to the Gardaí as fraudulent.

“For example, AXA reported only 1 percent of all claims to the Gardaí as fraudulent in 2018, not 20 percent. For Aviva it was 4 percent and for Allianz, as little as 1 percent.

“Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act makes clear that it is an offence for companies to fail to report known crimes such as fraud. So either the industry is exaggerating or breaking the law.

“Insurance Ireland should set the record straight, and call these companies out for willfully dis-informing the public on the level of fraudulent claims.

“According to Insurance Ireland’s own figures, the number of motor claims from 2014 to 2017 went down by 22 percent; 55,000 less. Despite this, the average motor premium rose by 45 percent in the same period.

“This is also in the context of total personal injury awards being paid out through the Courts and Personal Injuries Assessment Board falling by 15 percent from 2014 to 2018.

“It is crucial that Insurance Ireland speaks out on the fact that premiums have risen despite the falling number and cost of claims.

“Sinn Féin supports the establishment of the Personal Injuries Commission to deal with the level of personal injury awards, and are critical of the Government’s slow action in setting it up.

“We would also set up a Garda Fraud Unit to stamp out fraud if and when it occurs. But we will not accept what has become a public disinformation campaign by the insurance industry in a bid to hide the insurance rip-off.

“We now know that companies are using aggressive and anti-consumer pricing practices to charge customers with artificially high prices, without their knowledge. Insurance Ireland should focus on increasing transparency, ending unfair pricing and getting the facts straight.”

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