Tuesday, July 23, 2019

HIGH profile insurance cases played out in the media, whether making regional or national headlines, play straight into the hands of insurance companies, providing them with the perfect material to spin to their advantage. Such cases are manna to an insurance company’s PR department.

Fraudulent claims will always happen, and cases involving such fraudsters will make headlines when they meet their match in terms of good detective work by Gardaí, vigilance by insurance companies and due process through our court system. Many will also get away with such nefarious claims. But it will only ever be a small fraction of those law-abiding citizens who honestly pay their insurance for whatever their needs may be – motor, home, business, tourism. The list is fairly extensive at this stage in the evolution of our society.

Indeed, insurance claims are an expensive business – but the healthy profits currently being turned by members of trade body Insurance Ireland suggest Irish companies are faring fairly well despite an apparent proliferation of fraudulent cases.

The late Noel Whelan, Senior Counsel and formerly barrister of state at Waterford courthouse, tweeted on July 7, the week prior to his death: “Finally someone gets to heart of dishonesty and spin at centre of insurance industry case about fraudulent claims, it happens, but not on anything like scale industry claims to justify their premiums, terrific use again by @PearseDoherty of the @OireachtasNews committee system.”

He was referring to Pearse Doherty, Sinn  Féin TD’s finance committee questioning, during which Mr Doherty called out the insurance industry for magnifying the scale of the issue of fraudulent claims in order to justify their high premiums and increases.

The true story, like most, lies not in the hyped up cases beloved of insurance companies, but somewhere in the middle ground. Insurance claims are a costly business and challenging for both individuals and business people alike. We are all too familiar with the fact that a hefty motor insurance payout does not just impact the insurance company but also the individual against who the claim is taken, whose premium will afterwards experience a hefty rise. This is true of all forms of insurance. They are also challenging for insurance companies – but these companies factor this in, often years in advance. Hence healthy profits for insurance companies are crucial. But there’s a difference between healthy and rip-off profiteering on the back of a woe-is-me ‘story’.

Meanwhile, those who ultimately suffer as a result of crippling insurance premiums are individuals in their daily lives and businesses working their hardest to make an honest buck.


An epic swim

Home from the hills, or in this case the waves – Waterford man Alan Corcoran walked in from the surf in Tramore on a rainy Sunday evening as if the 500km swim he had just undertaken had hardly made a dent in his energy levels. An amazing feat for a fantastic cause. Alan was swimming in memory of his father, the late Milo Corcoran, former FAI President who died in 2016. Alan’s swim was in support of the Irish Heart Foundation and Solas Cancer Support Centre. Alan was joined by a group of swimmers who flanked him, for the final 300 metres to the finish marker. He said that this swim was his effort to take “meaningful action” from the devastating loss of his dad. It was an epic undertaking by Alan and one of which Milo would be incredibly proud.

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By Mary Frances Ryan
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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