Figures from the Association of British Insurers show that detected insurance frauds have more than doubled in the last five years.
The figures highlight that in 2010:
– Insurers uncovered 133,000 fraudulent insurance claims – 2,500 every week – up 9% on 2009. The value of these claims was £919 million, also up 9% on the previous year. Over the last five years both the number and overall value of insurance frauds detected have risen by over 100%.
– The most common frauds involved home insurance with 66,000 bogus or exaggerated claims detected, followed by dishonest motor insurance frauds with 40,000 frauds uncovered. Motor frauds were the most costly, totalling £466 million.
– The value of savings from detected frauds represented 5% of all claims, compared to 4% on 2009
Cheats uncovered by insurers include:
– A claim for back injuries apparently sustained from a fall while working in a nightclub was rejected when Facebook images showed the claimant performing gymnastics, and training for a charity run.
– A woman’s claim for facial injuries she said resulted from a falling toilet roll holder in a fast food outlet was rejected when it was shown that the holder would have had to have fallen upwards to cause the injury claimed.
– A man claimed for a ‘lost’ engagement ring. His ex partner said that she was never given a ring as they had never been engaged. On the same day the man said he had suddenly found the ring.
– A claim by a woman for the loss of a £2,000 watch after a night out was rejected when the photograph she provided of her allegedly wearing the watch turned out to be that of a friend.
– A claim for injury said to be caused by falling over a wall was rejected when it was proved that there was no wall at the scene of the alleged incident.
It is estimated that insurance fraud costs £2billion a year, adding, on average, an extra £44 a year to the insurance bill for every UK policyholder.
Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, said: “Insurers are working harder than ever to protect honest customers against fraud.
The savings made by weeding out fraudulent claims would otherwise end up being paid for by honest policyholders through higher premiums.
“Fraudsters continually look for new ways to con insurers, so we are upping our game. Early next year we will be setting up a national Insurance Fraud Register, which will contain details of all known insurance cheats. And at the same time the first ever national police insurance fraud investigation unit will begin its operations, making it harder than ever to commit insurance fraud.”
Glen Marr, Director, Insurance Fraud Bureau comments: “Fraudsters will increasingly find the insurance industry a hostile environment. The IFB is committed to supporting insurer efforts to systematically root out and tackle fraudsters. At the IFB we have access to a significant volume of industry data, use sophisticated and powerful analytical software, work in partnership with insurers, law enforcement and regulators, and have no shortage of reports being received from consumers of their knowledge or suspicions of those concerned with defrauding the industry, through our Cheatline facility.
“We would urge anyone with information on any type of insurance fraud to support industry efforts to root out the fraudsters, by calling the IFB free and confidential Cheatline on 0800 3282550 or by using our online reporting facility at www.insurancefraudbureau.org/report. Reports to Cheatline can be completely anonymous if necessary. It’s important to underline that some of those concerned with insurance fraud, are also involved in criminal activities where there is harm to local communities”.
Source : ABI