278. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Justice the number of incidents of fraudulent insurance claims reported by the insurance industry to An Garda Síochána in 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17755/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner has responsibility, by law, for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. The Garda Commissioner is solely responsible for the allocation of personnel, as well as organisational matters including the structure and number of Garda units involved in investigating any given criminal matter, including insurance fraud, and the resourcing of criminal investigations. I am assured that allegations of insurance fraud made to An Garda Síochána are fully investigated by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).
As the Deputy will also be aware, Operation Coatee was launched in April 2019, its focus being the prevention of insurance-related fraud and associated crimes on a coordinated basis throughout Ireland. In circumstances where insurance fraud has already occurred, Operation Coatee is designed to maximise the prospect of identifying suspected culprits and, where possible and appropriate, to initiate criminal proceedings.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the specific incident type of Insurance Fraud was introduced on PULSE from 1 November 2018. Prior to 1 November 2018, Insurance Fraud reported to An Garda Síochána was recorded under more general fraud incident types.
The Garda authorities have provided the table below which sets out the number of fraudulent insurance claims, within the Insurance Fraud incident type, reported to An Garda Síochána in 2019, 2020 and up to and including 28 March 2021. The insurance company is the injured party in all of these incidents.
|Year||2019||2020||2021 (up to 28 March)|
|Fraudulent Claims||63||48||Fewer than 10 incidents reported|
For the Deputy's information, Incident counts are based on the date of reporting to An Garda Síochána and were collated based on PULSE data as of 01:30 on the 28 March 2021. Crime counting rules were applied to the data. These figures relate to fraudulent insurance claims only (based on recorded motive details and incident narrative) and do not relate to fraudulent applications for insurance or Ghost Broker incidents.