The Association of British Insurers reports that the UK’s insurance companies are “detecting more fraudulent claims than ever: over 2,500 worth £18 million [$29.446 million] every week.” A number of those claims border on the bizarre.
Highlights of the record number of fraudulent insurance claims detected by insurers in 2010, according to the ABI, were detailed as follows:
• Insurers uncovered 133,000 fraudulent insurance claims – 2,500 every week – up 9 percent on 2009. The value of these claims was £919 million [$1.5 billion], also up 9 percent on the previous year. Over the last five years both the number and overall value of insurance frauds detected have risen by over 100 percent.
• 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, totaling £466 million [$762 million].
• The value of savings from detected frauds represented 5 percent of all claims, compared to 4 percent on 2009
Some of the more memorable examples of the types of fraudulent claim the UK’s insurance industry uncovered were listed as follows:
• 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 [$3268] 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 [$3.268 billion] a year, adding, on average, an extra £44 [$71.89] a year to the insurance bill for every UK policyholder.
Nick Starling, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, commented: “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, added: “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.
Source: Association of British Insurers