Cost-of-living challenge fuelling surge in bogus insurance claims – Zurich

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An insurer detected a a 31% jump in fraudulent property-related claims in 2022 and a 7% rise in fake casualty claims, compared with the previous year.

Zurich UK, which released the figures, added that it typically foiled fraud worth nearly £200,000 every day last year, as cost-of-living challenges spurred a surge in bogus claims.

Overall, Zurich prevented 3,460 fraudulent claims last year, worth roughly £20,000 per claim.

The total value of fraud prevented across all lines of business was £71.5 million, averaging around £195,890 per day.

But the insurer said that a drop-off in spurious whiplash claims had helped to push motor-related fraud levels down.

“Fraudsters are continually evolving in their methods, but so are we, and we now have more tools in our arsenal to detect fraud than ever before.

“Fraudulent claimants should be aware of the real-world consequences of their actions, which can include criminal prosecution and prison sentences for those caught.”

Zurich said it has invested in new software to uncover fraudsters who attempt to hide their identity by providing false name or address details, and last year it launched “real-time” fraud checks to help speed up the claims handling process.

Detective chief inspector Tom Hill, from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said: “We understand that the rising cost-of-living has presented challenges for many people across the country – but turning to crime is never the answer.

“Submitting a bogus insurance claim may seem like a victimless crime, but it in fact drives up the cost of premiums for everyone. As well as this, it could land you with a criminal record.

“Exaggerating or fabricating a claim may seem like a quick way to make money, but a conviction will have a lasting impact on your life.”

Last year, the the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) said it has seen a rise in people being added to the Insurance Fraud Register (IFR).

The IFR is a national database of insurance fraudsters. When an insurance application or claim is proven to be fraudulent the insurer can register individuals, businesses and information such as emails and phone numbers linked to the fraud on the IFR.

Those on the database could be denied insurance services or will have to pay a significantly higher cost due to the increased risk.

There are various legitimate ways to save on insurance costs, such as by shopping around or finding a broker through the British Insurance Brokers’ Association.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) also provides information on what customers might need to consider when taking out insurance.

Insurer Aviva has previously said it was expecting to see more claims fraud as people came under financial stress.

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