397. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the integrated insurance fraud database will be up and running; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31429/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I would like to thank the Deputy for raising this matter again. On 6 February 2018, in response to parliamentary question 65, I advised the Deputy that my Department had established a Working Group to progress the action points raised under recommendation 25 of the Cost of Insurance Working Group's Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance, i.e. the establishment of a fully functioning integrated insurance fraud database for industry.
This Working Group continues to meet in order to establish an appropriate mechanism whereby insurance companies can share information to assist in the combatting of fraud. However, data protection-related issues have dominated the group’s deliberations and ultimately have made it impossible to establish the database by the end of 2018, as had been scheduled.
The Working Group has engaged in discussions with the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC), the respective UK bodies dealing with insurance fraud (the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department and the Insurance Fraud Bureau), and completed a report which includes the recommended agreed parameters of the database, who is to be responsible, how it will be funded, and who will have access.
As noted last year, the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the related Data Protection Bill will have a significant impact on any new data sharing arrangements between industry members and between the industry and An Garda Síochána. As such, the establishment of any new data sharing structures will require careful consideration against the changes to the legislative landscape. More generally, a critical balance will also be sought to ensure that data sharing between insurers is maximised while, at the same time, the data rights of the public are protected. Any changes, therefore, must be proportional to their effect.
The report of the Working Group was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General and the ODPC and in response, the ODPC strongly endorsed the group’s view that a detailed Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) was required in order to answer outstanding concerns regarding the potential addition of new datasets to Insurance Ireland's existing InsuranceLink database, and the increased sharing of data.
The ODPC recommended that further work be completed to detail the evidential requirements for the creation of a new database or the enhancement of the existing InsuranceLink database. The benefits of such a database should be assessed against the potential harm or detriments that could occur to individuals and their fundamental rights. The Office of the Attorney General has also considered the Working Group’s report and further consultation will take place following the conclusion of the outstanding data protection matters.
In October last year, Insurance Ireland completed a DPIA in relation to matters such as the information currently held on InsuranceLink, as well as the specific additional data it is proposed will be shared, plus the additional circumstances under which the data will be shared.
Since receiving the DPIA, my officials conducted preliminary consultations with the ODPC, followed by more detailed consultations with the Department's internal Data Protection Support and Compliance Office (DPSCO). Subsequently, it was agreed by the Working Group (which met most recently in June 2019) that my officials would submit Insurance Ireland’s DPIA on InsuranceLink to the ODPC on behalf of Insurance Ireland. The DPIA was submitted to the ODPC, in accordance with Article 36 of the GDPR, on 14 June 2019 and a response is awaited.
Engagement will continue with the insurance industry to see if it is possible to develop an enhanced version of the existing industry database, with the management of the database to be with an independent, not-for-profit body. This approach will provide for complete and open access to the data held on the database for all existing and new entrant market participants.
Subject to consultation with the ODPC, the next phase towards implementation of recommendation 25 will require the identification of such an appropriate independent body to manage the database. These matters will continue to be monitored by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, who produce public-facing reports to track the progress of each recommendation on a routine basis: https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation-information/fbc791-the-cost-of-insurance-working-group