Fake motor insurance policies are being sold to unsuspecting motorists for €300 leaving them with no cover. According to the Irish Independent, this new breed of ruthless fraudsters is operating online and in pop-up stores. A number of complaints have been received by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau from victims of the scam.
Hundreds of fake policies have been issued by fraudsters promising discounted covers through a range of well known insurers. Insurer Liberty has already warned motorists about fraudsters that pose as legitimate middleman claiming that they can reduce insurance costs. However, these fraudsters are not regulated by the Central Bank because they only operate using home addresses and mobile phone numbers.
Most of the victims are young drivers and foreign nationals who are not familiar with the insurance market. When fraudsters offer discounts, it becomes very appealing to consumers. The ghost brokers are exploiting the fact that the average motor premium has increased by almost 60pc in the last year. More increases are expected for drivers even if there has been a slowdown in overall premiums.
Meanwhile, Deirdre Ashe the director of personal lines of Liberty Insurance has noted the sudden increase of ghost brokers in Ireland. It used to be a significant problem in the United Kingdom for a number of years but it now becoming prevalent in Ireland. High premium prices can pressure drivers to seek more affordable options but they are actually driving illegally.
In order to minimize the effect of the scam on unsuspecting motorists, it is important to educate consumers. If consumers require advice regarding insurance, they can engage the services of an insurance intermediary or directly seek the insurer for clarification. A spokesperson from the Central Bank encourages everyone who has plans of engaging with a financial firm to check the online register in order to ensure that the firm is authorized.
Expert brokers can teach you how to sell insurance effectively but in most cases, this is not enough. What insurance agents need is a website that can enhance their online presence. Many consumers are now going online to request for quotes so that they can compare prices before making a purchasing decision.