People who make false car insurance claims must be prosecuted according to former judge


People who make false car insurance claims must be prosecuted according to former judge

An ex-Judge has hit out at insurance fraudsters saying that anyone who makes false claims should be prosecuted.

Insurance fraudsters are making false car insurance claims are getting away with it. The reason they are getting away with it is that they are not being prosecuted by the court's system, the leading judge said.

Nicholas Kearns who is the former High Court president warned that Ireland has a huge problem with fraudulent motor claims but there does not seem to be any punishment or sanctions for lying in court.

At the same time,  insurance providers have been accused of creative accounting to justify their soaring premiums.

Mr Kearns said that there needs to be more statutory and judicial deterrents for fraudsters.
"There is a significant amount of fraud permeating the motor claims scenario,"

The insurance industry is claiming that fraud costs around €200m a year but according to the former High Court president, the true figure was many times more than this as that figure only represented the levels of fraud that were detected. And it did not account for exaggerated claims.

On National radio, he said that settlements for claims were very large in this country which is a factor and encouraged fake claims.

At the moment there is very little chance of detection for anyone making a false claim on their insurance. Another major factor encouraging fraudulent claims was that few fraudsters were ever prosecuted for perjury. Mr Kearns said the chances of a fraudster being charged with perjury were "infinitesimal".

But he praised the fact that judges have "rumbled" a number of fraudulent claimants lately.

Mr Kearns now heads up the Government's Personal Injuries Commission, which is looking at levels of award in this country and comparing them to those in other states.

Asked about solicitors taking cases they know to be questionable, he said: "I know the Law Society is very anxious to stamp it out as it does not reflect well on them."

His comments come as a leading critic of the insurance industry accused it of engaging in creative accounting to justify spiralling premiums.

The former chairwoman of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board, Dorothea Dowling questioned the justification for premiums rising by 70pc in the past three years.

Ms Dowling went on to say that an official insurance report showed the cost of claims only rose by 3pc between 2013 and 2015.

Her comments came a year after the Government's Cost of Insurance Working Group, set up by Minister Eoghan Murphy, recommended a range of reforms to cut the cost of cover.