Offaly people warned over 'fraudster' insurance brokers
Brokers Ireland has today called on consumers to be alert to the dangers of fraudsters masquerading as insurance brokers as reports emerge that gardai have found yet more fraudsters selling forged or invalid insurance to unsuspecting motorists.
Brokers Ireland, which represents 1,250 Brokers registered with and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, said it is great to see progress being made by gardai towards targeting and catching those who are carrying out this fraud and said the gardaí must be given whatever resources they need to continue their efforts to protect vulnerable and unsuspecting people.
Cathie Shannon, Director of General Insurance at Brokers Ireland, said with not too much difficulty consumers should be able to establish the authenticity or otherwise of those presenting themselves as ‘brokers’.
“If you buy insurance from a fraudster, you have not actually purchased a valid insurance policy and the consequences can be severe in the event of needing to make a claim.
“If you purchase car insurance from a fraudster you will be driving without insurance, which is a criminal offence.
“Fraudsters often target young or what might be considered more vulnerable consumers, often foreign nationals who are not clear on how the insurance market works in Ireland,” she said.
Ms Shannon said one of the most obvious signals can be an insurance quote that seems too good to be true.
“Invariably if it seems too good to be true it transpires that it actually is. This opens up the prospect of serious consequences when the unexpected or unwanted happens,” she said.
She advised consumers to always check the authenticity of any person or company selling or administering insurance policies.
“The easiest and cost-free first step would be to check the Brokers Ireland website: www.brokersireland.ie because all our insurance Brokers are listed there. Our website has a handy search facility, which will also enable a consumer to find an insurance Broker in their local area.
“Second, consumers can also check with the Central Bank, the website of which provides a search facility to enable consumers check whether the person or company purporting to sell insurance or administer policies is a regulated entity.”
She said while conducting business over the web is now the norm, the web is also an easy marketplace for fraudsters.
“Consumers need to be alert at all times. Think twice before purchasing insurance from sources such as social media sites and carefully check any insurance documentation for accuracy,” she said.
She said the term ‘ghost broker’ is unfortunate. ”The more correct description would be fraudsters," she said.