As the New Year begins new measures are being taken to tackle the two major problems facing driver and insurers. A new scheme is being introduced which aims to not only cut down the number of fraudulent insurance claims being made, but also allow the Garda to identify uninsured drivers quickly and easily. Here at McSweeney Personal Injury Solicitors, we are keeping our clients up to date with these changes.
Tackling the Problem of Uninsured Drivers
By the beginning of the year, the details of drivers who are insured privately will be held in a national database. With the help of a handheld device which can scan licence plates and match them to a number stored on the database, the Garda will be able to identify uninsured vehicles.
This information has been provided by the insurance companies.
The scheme, using this licence plate recognition system has been piloted in the Limerick District. As the results looked positive it is soon to be rolled out across all districts. It was originally approved under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018. This was passed in July 2018 with a view to the scheme being operational by the end of 2018. However, the scheme will not get fully underway until 2019.
Insurance companies, whose costs are being forced up by fraudulent claims, have assisted the Garda in putting the database together by providing details of both insured and uninsured vehicles. The information they have gathered is now set to be transferred by electronic link to the Garda’s licence plate scanning system.
Tackling Fraudulent Insurance Claims
The new database will reveal important information about how an increasing number of claims is leading to increases in insurance costs for drivers. This has become a major issue in Ireland. The Personal Injuries Commission reported recently that payouts for personal injuries in Ireland are considerably higher than in the UK. One example showed that the average sum awarded for whiplash is close to four and a half time what is paid out for similar injuries in the UK
The top drivers’ organisations, the AA Ireland claims that insurance premiums could be reduced substantially if more effort was made to deal with fraud and the associated legal fees. This could save the average motorist €100 or more per year.
The insurance industry blames the government’s lack of action. They claim the government could have taken steps to resolve the problem. But through not taking the issues seriously enough, insurance companies have no choice but to increase their costs which inevitably has to be passed on to the customer.
The cost of meeting insurance claims is somewhere between €55 million to €60 a year. It is estimated fraudulent claims cost the customer an extra €30 to €35 per policy
Enterprise and innovation spokesman Billy Kelleher has pointed out that insurance fraud is a legal matter and it should be dealt with through the legal process. Making a false insurance claim is a crime, and it carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison or a €100,000 fine. However, it is very difficult to prove. Despite The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) claim that as many as 1 out or every eight claims are false, the courts have yet to successfully prove a case.
This is perhaps more likely to happen in future thanks to the new Civil Liability and Courts (Amendment) Bill which has been introduced to tackle the problem.
The MIBI noticed a significant drop in insurance claims after taking a number of measures to reduce fraudulent claims. Most importantly they pursued a policy of passing any claims they believed to be suspicious to the Garda. The number of claims received by insurers dropped by 8% during the first half of 2018.
The Garda, insurance companies and the legal profession are working together and hopefully this will lead to improvements that will benefit both drivers and insurance companies. As solicitors with many years of experience in dealing with motoring and road accident cases, McSweeney Solicitors can provide expert legal advice on all aspects of these issues.
If you are involved in an accident involving an uninsured driver, you are still able to claim compensation. Indeed a number of road traffic accident claims are made against uninsured drivers. Whether it be a car accident claim or a pedestrian accident claim. Get in touch with McSweeney Personal Injury Solicitors Today for more information.