The on-going battle between insurance companies and insurance cheats continues with the companies gaining ground over recent months. Every false claim uncovered helps to reduce the cost of insurance for everyone else, including you and me.
Some of the claims are bizarre and do make you wonder how on earth the claimants thought they could get away with it. Recent examples quoted by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) include:
- The man who was convicted of staging fake road accidents in his Mr Whippy ice cream van. Had he been successful he would have pocketed around £100,000.
- A gang of 19 fraudsters were jailed for between 12 and 21 months after staging a bus crash. CCTV footage showed the gang members laughing as they feigned whiplash injury, despite the footage showing that litter on the bus floor did not move during the incident.
- An aircraft engineer was jailed for two years after he claimed that £189,000 worth of luggage was lost on a flight when the suitcases were shown to have been empty when they were checked in.
- Then there was the chef who claimed for neck, shoulder, leg, wrist, back and teeth injuries following an alleged fall on a wet canteen floor. CCTV clearly showed her deliberately staging the fall.
- £5,000 compensation was claimed for neck, back and arm injuries by a man who said he had been injured in a vehicle collision in a retail car park. However, CCTV footage from the retailer clearly showed that the man was not in his car at the time.
- An enthusiastic runner was found to have made a fundamentally dishonest claim for personal injuries after his Twitter account showed him competing in a 10k road race when he was supposedly suffering from severe neck and back pain.
- Claiming for her wedding ring that she said had been lost, a policyholder supplied a photo of the ring that was proven to have been taken the day after the alleged loss had happened.
- A man claimed on life policies of a friend whom he alleged had died in a car crash in Africa. No trace of either the friend or the accident could be found. He subsequently admitted fraud and was jailed for seven years.
James Dalton, ABI’s Director, General Insurance Policy, commented: “insurance cheats do not lack nerve or ingenuity, which is why there will be no let-up in the industry’s commitment to protect honest customers. The chances of getting caught have never been greater, and the consequences, such as a prison sentence and difficulty in getting future insurance and other financial products, have never been more severe and long-lasting.
“The scale of frauds uncovered shows that the industry’s £200 million a year investment in tackling fraud is paying dividends, as is the collaboration with the Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department. And the industry is working hard with the Government to implement the recommendations of the Insurance Fraud Taskforce to make the industry even more resilient to this crime.
“Reducing fraud is part of a bigger picture of reducing unnecessary costs, so that honest customers benefit from the most competitive insurance deals. This is why it is important to ensure that the Government implements further proposals aimed at tackling rising personal injury claims, and that there are no further increases to the rate of Insurance Premium Tax.”