In 2017, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, then minister for social protections. launched a self-described “hard-hitting publicity campaign designed to raise awareness of social welfare fraud and encourage members of the public to identify potential cheats.” More recently the current government launched a campaign to ‘get tough with insurance fraudsters’.
A recent report in the Irish Times quoted Fianna Fáil public expenditure and reform spokesman Barry Cowen as saying “to have knowingly made a fraudulent claim should suffer the consequences”. So things must have gotten a little awkward for the current government when Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey Maria Bailey “Swing-gate” story came to light. A subsequent report surrounding the events of the case is still in limbo, as Fine Gael look to stay ahead of the story, while hoping that it will fall from public memory.
Listen to Ms Bailey’s ill advised radio interview here.
Around the same time as “swing-gate” emerged the story of TD Alan Farrell who claimed €880 worth of car repairs after minor collision. Mr Farrell subsequently dropped the case after a picture of him playing football did the rounds in the media.
These stories comes of off the back of the fact that three leading insurance companies in Ireland were up to twice as profitable as they planned to be last year. This emerged when Axa, Allianz and FBD appeared before the Oireachtas Finance Committee to deny ripping off consumers and businesses by making big profits. The three insurers represent 50 percent of the Irish market. According to a report by The Irish Sun the biggest insurance companies rubbished claims that their industry is operating a cartel and ripping off consumers. Last month, it was reported that profits for the insurance industry jumped by 1,300% in 2017. FBD boss Fiona Muldoon, Axa Ireland chief executive Philip Bradley and Allianz boss Sean McGrath denied their companies were excessively profitable. The insurance company bosses message to the committee is that the blame for higher premiums should be laid at the feet of those who make fraudulent claims.
When questioned further about these claims well, see for yourself in the clip below:
It get hard not to think that there are ‘rules for some and different rules for others’.