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UK: No hiding place for frauds

2012-09-14 09:30

CAR CRASH FRAUD: Fake car crash gangs, fraudulent claims... the UK will crackdown on insurance fraud in the hopes of saving more than R13-billion.

LONDON, England - Every week nearly 3000 fraudulent insurance claims - many of them involving motor vehicles - for the equivalent of R253-million are being uncovered in the UK as insurers crack down on cheats.

The Association of British Insurers is to create and insurance fraud register to record details of known insurance fraudsters. It will be made available nationwide and those on it are unlikely to get further insurance or vehicle finance.

WHIPLASH CLAIMS ON THE RISE

An ABI report 'No Hiding Place-Insurance Fraud Exposed' highlighted its finding for 2011:

139 000 exaggerated insurance claims which, if paid, would have cost the equivalent of nearly R13-billion.

Dishonest motor insurance claims were the most expensive with savings of R7.2-billion made from the 45 000 fake claims uncovered.

Fraudulent neck 'whiplash' claims were the most common.

Insurance fraud now adds, on average, an extra R700 a year to the annual insurance bill for every UK policyholder.

Otto Thoresen, ABI’s director general, said: “The industry makes no apologies for its zero tolerance approach to insurance fraud. Honest customers are sick of footing the bill for insurance cheats, through higher insurance premiums.

"From the highly organised ‘crash for cash’ motor scams to the opportunistic exaggeration of a genuine claim, insurers are determined to do what it takes to protect honest customers.

“The development of the register is a milestone in the fight against fraud. It reinforces the strong message that insurance cheats can expect difficulties in obtaining future insurance, credit and other financial products, as well as getting a criminal record."

'TANGIBLE CONSEQUENCES'

Richard Davies of the ABI's financial cime committee, said: “The register underlines the industry’s continuing commitment to reducing fraud and protecting honest customers. It complements the work of the Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department.

“The register will make it easier for insurers to prevent fraud by making details of known fraudsters available to insurers through a secure protocol. It gives the clearest signal yet that we are more determined than ever to clamp down on insurance fraud.

"Those who defraud insurers and their honest customers face real and tangible consequences.”

Examples of detected frauds uncovered:

• A group of 30 men hired a coach to take them to a greyhound race meeting. They claimed whiplash after a staged accident with a car.

• A family made more than 100 claims for damage to their property. Most claims involved alleged storm damage and damage to walls caused by untraced vehicles. The family members were jailed for 15 months.

• Insurers, working with police and assisted by the Insurance Fraud Bureau, uncovered a staged motor-accident gang believed to have been involved in 180 staged accidents. 37 people received prison sentences and were linked to 230 insurance claims that would have cost R4.2-million.

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