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3 INSURANCE CHEATS SHOPPED EVERY DAY; EXCLUSIVE Honest neighbours report fraudsters to confidential line.

Byline: by LYNN JOLLY

NEARLY three people are picking up the phone every day to report insurance cheats who are ripping the system off.

Those sickened by people who make false claims are using the Insurance Confidential line to shop them.

And 3,175 reports were made between 2003 and the end of last year - that's an average of more than 20 scammers every week.

Unsurprisingly, car and motor-related claims are at the centre of two thirds of calls to the Irish Insurance Federation line.

And it is big business for cheats with insurance companies footing a EUR100mil-lion bill for fraudulent claims every year.

IIF spokeswoman Carmel Mulroy said: "Everyone is reporting fraud.

"It can come from loose talk in the pub where someone is overheard bragging about a false claim.

"But we have had calls from ex-girlfriends, neighbours, work colleagues and even family members.

"It is very hard to estimate how much it costs but we think it could be around EUR100million a year.

"Insurance companies pick up the cost but it is passed on to the customer."

From 2003 to 2006, in the four provinces, the number of calls to Insurance Confidential were: Connaught 333, Leinster 818, Munster 711 and Ulster 111.

Motor damage and injury and other car-related claims are top of the list with 67 per cent of calls.

Public liability, where people try to scam cash from a firm for damage to them or their belongings, is second highest.

And the third highest fake claims reported are for employers' liability, which is accidental injury.

The insurance industry has recently doubled its efforts to crack down on insurance fraud.

Experts have teamed up with gardai to help firms who believe they are being scammed.

Suspected fraud now goes to the gardai for criminal investigation.

And anyone convicted could face a fine of up to EUR100,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.

GARDAI CRACK SCAMS

AN employee who claimed employer liability for loss of wages after suffering a back injury.

He claimed EUR225,000 for loss of future earnings, saying he could not cook, clean, coach his GAA team, drive or work.

But a private investigator hired by the insurance company filmed him working as a painter and singing in a band. The case came before the High Court in February.

A HOUSEHOLD claim for electrical goods after a burglary where the claimant got dodgy invoices in a bid to make money.

An assistant at an electrical shop gave him invoices for genuine goods bought by customers and put his own name on them.

The fraudster admitted he exaggerated his claim by EUR12,000.

A MAN who got a household policy after telling the insurance firm he lived in the property with his wife and son.

Because he did not live in the house the insurer refused to pay out the EUR8,500 he claimed.

news@irishmirror.ie
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2007
Words:484
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