Ghost Brokers Awareness Campaign – Consumers Don’t Get Scammed

Thu Mar 4 2021

Dear Member,

A new public awareness campaign on Ghost Brokers has been launched by Liberty Insurance in conjunction with Brokers Ireland.  The aim of this initiative is to raise awareness of the illegal practice of Ghost Broking, which places Irish motorists at risk of insurance fraud and invalid insurance cover.

This new consumer awareness campaign which gets underway from this week will include the following publicity activities:

IDENTIFYING LEGITIMATE INSURANCE BROKERS

Brokers Ireland have always encouraged consumers to think twice before purchasing insurance from sources such as social media sites and carefully check any insurance documentation for accuracy. Consumers should refer to www.InsuranceBroker.ie and the Brokers Ireland ‘Search for a Broker’ facility when verifying or seeking a legitimate Broker.

Easy and cost-free steps consumers can take to locate a genuine Broker:

PUBLIC AWARENESS

While conducting business online is an everyday occurrence, the web is an easy marketplace for fraudsters. Consumers always need to be alert and research indicates that a large proportion of consumers aren’t even aware that they need to have their guard up. New research, conducted by Liberty among 1,000 consumers through Core Research*, shows that 70% of motor insurance customers in Ireland are unaware of this practice.

According to Liberty’s research, 43% of consumers have searched for their Broker online but 32% have not taken any steps to verify that their Insurance Broker is fully regulated.

PROFESSIONAL FRAUDSTERS

Ghost Brokers are professional fraudsters who sell forged or falsified documents to unsuspecting motorists. In the event of a claim arising, these policies leave the motorist liable. Liberty’s research suggests they disproportionately target immigrant communities, many of whom don’t speak English as a first language or are unfamiliar with Irish insurance practices.

“At Liberty we live by our value of ‘Putting People First’. We were the first insurer in the Irish market to publicly call out this practise in 2017, and since then we have sought to work with An Garda Siochana, the Department of Finance, Brokers Ireland and other industry peers to tackle this growing problem. ” says María Eugenia Mugueza, Claims and Operations Leader for Liberty Insurance in Europe.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

The survey found that among motorists aware of the practice, 21% are either unsure or unaware that policies purchased via Ghost Brokers may be invalid. Identifying a Ghost Broker is the first step; warning signs include Broker contact details that neglect to include a physical business address or business landline number. Also, if the offer appears too good to be true, this should serve as another red flag.

WIDER SUPPORT & ENDORESEMENT

To expose fraudsters, Liberty’s campaign calls on fellow insurers to encourage consumers to verify genuine Insurance Brokers and calls on online platforms to verify the authenticity of advertisers selling insurance products.

As well as online providers, “Liberty is calling on our fellow insurance providers to support this consumer awareness campaign,” says María Eugenia Mugueza, “to ensure customers are educated on the practice of Ghost Broking and how to avoid falling victim to it.

This is a much-needed resource for consumers,” stated Seán Fleming TD, Minister of State with Responsibility for Insurance, who has welcomed this awareness campaign, “not only to identify genuine Brokers, but also to identify the types of insurance that Brokers may provide.”

We hope that members will get behind this awareness campaign from Liberty and promote it wherever possible to highlight this highly fraudulent and illegal practice to Irish consumers and its’ associated negative reputational damage to Brokers.

Kind Regards

Cathie Shannon
Director of General Insurance 

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