Insurance Link is a database maintained by Insurance Ireland which records every personal injury case in the country. But it is secret with access tightly controlled by a select few corporate insiders.
This database itself is however now central to an ongoing investigation into an alleged cartel operating at the heart of the insurance industry.
It remains inaccessible to even personal injury solicitors and who are thus still unable to independently check the case histories of a potential client when trying to assess the bona fides or likely veracity of a genuine claim or otherwise.
The database remains padlocked despite a series of cases appearing before the courts including one in the Circuit Court in Dublin recently which highlighted the issues concerning fraudulent and exaggerated claims where the judge in this case has advised that files be sent to the DPP.
Fraudulent claims (whether through arranged crashes or exaggerated claims) harm the cases being brought by genuinely injured people who deserve compensation for the injuries which they received through no fault of their own.
In addition, where it is thought that any solicitor is involved in perpetuating a fraudulent case, then it is proper that they should be referred to the Law Society or indeed to the DPP’s Office.
It is reported that at the hearing of one of the aforementioned cases, reference was made to the fact that one of the parties involved had said he had no previous accidents, when in fact Insurance Link subsequently showed that he had.
What Lies Beneath
When a solicitor meets a new client, the solicitor relies on that client telling us about their previous claims and accident history; it’s a standard question every solicitor must ask.
If a client lies and says that they haven’t had any, there is no way that a solicitor can check that this is the truth and we start by accepting what our clients tell us.
The insurers also ask this question of the solicitor representing any person seeking compensation. If the solicitor, having been told that by their client that they have no previous accidents, confirm this to the insurers, the insurers can immediately check this information on Insurance Link.
You would think therefore that they would allow solicitors access to their database or at the very least tell the solicitor that their client has lied through omission but outrageously they do not.
Imagine the amount of time and costs that would be saved if solicitors had access to this, or indeed, rather than dragging cases through the courts, insurers would point out at the very start of a case that a client has mislead their own solicitor. I for one, world walk away from any client that lied to me as soon as I found out.
I would be more than happy to have access to Insurance Link and not to waste time and costs (those of the courts, doctors, insurers and my own) in pursuing an action.
The insurance industry in refusing to allow access to Insurance Link are perpetuating the number of fraudulent claims coming before the Courts for absolutely no good reason other than to grab a few headlines and perpetuate the myth that the main reason for premium hikes is fraudulent claims.
The truth is, they could stop these cases even getting off the ground if they wanted to.
The fault for fraudulent claims clearly lies with the fraudster, and their lawyers if they were a party to it. The Insurance industry is costing you money in allowing these cases to proceed through the Court by racking up costs in cases which could be dealt with and killed off months if not years earlier.
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Anthony Carmody is a qualified solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in leading Dublin law firms. Anthony has specialised in the area of defending personal injury claims representing Insurance companies and Local Authorities, as well as undertaking claimant cases.