What is a ghost broker?
A ghost broker is a professional fraudster that pretends to be a genuine insurance broker in order to sell fraudulent invalid car insurance policies. The ghost broker purchases a policy on behalf of others but does not provide the correct information in order to reduce the price of the policy. Ghost brokers are unauthorised to sell insurance to the public and are not supervised by the Central Bank of Ireland.
How do ghost brokers operate?
They forge policy documents and sell them to you while pretending to work for or act on behalf of, a legitimate insurance company. They purchase a real policy from a legitimate insurance company, but they change important information about you, such as:
- driving experience
- no claims history
in order to bring the price of the policy down.
The ghost broker then sells the policy to you and charges you a fee for doing so.
What are the consequences for a person buying a fraudulent policy from a ghost broker?
- If you have an accident, your insurance company may not pay out for the cost of the damage.
- You are driving illegally as your insurance is invalid.
- You may be forced to pay costs if you are at fault in an accident.
- You may lose all of the money you paid for your insurance and would have to pay for another, genuine policy.
- Your policy may be cancelled and you would have to disclose this when purchasing insurance in the future which may impact your chances of getting another policy.
How to Identify a Ghost Broker?
They advertise on Facebook, Instagram, local community newsletters & word of mouth etc. selling “cheap insurance”.
They can't provide any evidence they are an authorised intermediary (All insurance intermediaries must be registered with the Central Bank and can be checked on The Central Bank of Ireland website).
They may not have an office address and might ask to meet in a public place such as a hotel, a shopping centre or call to your home.
They may only use a mobile number, as they have no business landline. They may not have a business email and use their own e.g. Gmail/Hotmail account.
They ask fewer questions than a genuine insurer.
The premium may be significantly cheaper than other quotes you've obtained.
They may look for a large amount of cash up front as a deposit without giving a receipt or request payment is made to their bank account.
8. Debit / Credit Card
They may ask for a copy of your card details
They offer to provide documentation to the customer. e.g. Proof of No Claim Bonus or they may provide fake documentation to the insurance company in your name without your consent.
You may only receive an Insurance Certificate and Disc and not the additional documentation that insurance companies are required to issue.
What is a No Claims Bonus?
A ‘No Claims Bonus’ certificate (NCB) is provided to you from your current or previous insurer. It is a statement provided by a motor insurer in certain jurisdictions, (such as Ireland, the United Kingdom or another EU country), to reflect the number of years claims free driving a policyholder has earned during a specified period of time.
The NCB certificate is an important document for insurers as it provides confirmation of the number of years claims free driving a policyholder has advised an insurer they hold when requesting a quote/incepting a policy.
The number of years of claims free driving a policyholder has is a material fact which is used in the premium calculation of a motor insurance quote and the decision as to whether an insurer is willing to provide a quote for such a proposal (as an insurer may decide to decline to quote a risk proposed, based on the number of claims free driving a policyholder/driver has).
How to Report a Ghost Broker
If you believe you have discovered a ghost broker, check with the relevant insurance company to find out if the intermediary is authorised to sell policies on their behalf. If they are not authorised, or you have found a suspicious advertisement, you should immediately contact your local Garda Station to report the suspected ghost broker or advertisement.
If you suspect any issues related to a policy you have with 123.ie, please call us on (01) 524 6029.