Jonathan Hehir, managing director of the CFM Group
A NEW proposed claims register should focus on outing “trip and trick” claimants, says a leading insurance broker.
“Current legislation and insurance claims practice protects serial claimants and pseudo thieves over law-abiding businesses and motorists,” said Jonathan Hehir, managing director of the CFM Group.
The most recent statistics show there were 8,906 application for public liability claims to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in 2015 – up from 7,251 in 2010. Limerick comes third highest in Ireland with 170 awards in 2015.
“While most of these would be genuine cases – if even a fraction were false then that could be several businesses in Limerick that suffer the consequences – and the livelihood of these business owners that could be in trouble,” said Mr Hehir.
In support of small businesses and motorists all over Ireland that are suffering from spiralling insurance premiums, coupled with crippling claims costs, insurance experts at the CFM Group is calling on Financial Services Minister Eoghan Murphy to speed up the establishment of the insurance claims register to out what they describe as “trip and trick claimants” and other professional fraudsters.
CFM group intends to campaign for a register which it believes will go a long way to curbing the activities of “professional insurance claimants”, who, they believe, are making a substantial living from falsifying multiple claims with the aim of being compensated by insurance pay-outs.
“There is a relatively small, but very active and dangerous cohort of people out there who engage in the practice of falsifying insurance claims. This has the knock-on effect of putting upward pressure on insurance premiums – be they motor or commercial – as insurers endeavour to recoup the losses made on the back of these claims pay-outs.
“This, in turn, is having a devastating effect on some small Irish businesses as they can no longer afford their commercial insurance and public liability premiums. So too is the financial burden borne by Irish motorists who have seen their premiums soar massively in the last 18-24months.” said Mr Hehir.
The insurance brokers say the minister should speed up the establishment of a confidential register, through which insurance claims managers could cross reference the names and addresses of any individual they suspect might be a serial offender when it comes to claims. CFM contend many businesses could be saved if this is brought forward.
“The idea is still in its infancy but the issue is so serious, it needs to happen. Claimants’ entitlements to privacy should not be affected as we would advocate that the register only be made available to the claims managers in insurance companies, and possibly the Irish Courts. It would create a more transparent system by which insurers could filter out the small but active cohort of pseudo claimants,” said Mr Hehir.
Experts at CFM say Irish businesses and motorists are being “plagued” by a high number of claims from a relatively small number of reoffending serial claimants who are systematically claiming for false injury. They have seen cases of “people literally diving on the floor or pretending to trip over something”.