Legislation must ensure insurance fraud does not pay - Tóibín
CIVIL LIABILITY AND COURTS BILL 2021
Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD has along with his colleagues in the Regional Group introduced a Private Members Bill - the Civil Liability and Courts Bill 2021 - in the Dáil.
According to an Teachta Tóibín, "the aim of the Bill is to act as a deterrent to those making false claims by increasing penalties for such offences, imposing legal costs on the plaintiff and having such matters referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for investigation at the court’s discretion.
While the Regional Group accepts there is no one way to tackle this issue, fraudulent claims result in exaggerated claims and increased insurance premiums and the we believes we must use a suite of measures to address these issues, with this Bill being one such measure.
It is a minority of claimants who bring fraudulent claims to court in the hope of receiving significant awards and this Bill will aim to deter individuals from making such claims. Each week An Garda Síochána receive reports of fraudulent insurance claims and there is a perception that fraud and exaggerated claims have been increasing in recent years, however, at present there is no consequence or risk to taking such a claim.
Many insurance policy holders are of the view that this has significantly contributed to a culture where a small percentage of people may be able to make fraudulent claims without any real consequences should they be unsuccessful.
Significant costs are incurred by individuals and business owners in defending such cases in court and businesses have faced soaring insurance premiums as a result of the actions of fraudsters. Many businesses claim that it is not uncommon for insurers to settle dubious claims too easily.
This Bill is not just about insurance claims, it is about the core administration of justice in our society. Insurance fraud does not pay, and this message needs to be evident in our legislation.
We in Aontú will continue to work with businesses and campaigners to tackle fraudulent claims which are increasing insurance claims. The Perjury & Offences Bill 2018 is another Bill that our Group continues to support and bring through the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Notes to Editor:
The purpose of the Bill is to increase the penalties for those found guilty of an offence under Section 26 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 which deals with fraudulent actions. This amendment Bill states that where a person’s case has been dismissed pursuant of Section 26 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 that the plaintiff must pay the legal expenses of the defendant.
The Bill intends to also amend Section 26 to ensure that in the event of a case being struck out because of fraudulent evidence, it allows the Court to direct that the matter be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for investigation. The Bill does permit Judges to have discretion however.
The Bill also increases the fine the District Court can hand out under the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 from the current €3,000 to the maximum permitted by the District Court which is a class A fine. A class A fine currently stands at €5,000.