£12,000 is average claim

‘Ingenious’ cheats targeted by £250m insurance campaign

Cheats are facing jail terms for fraud (pic: ABI)

Insurance firms are spending around £250 million a year on measures to tackle fraudulent crime as cheats become more ‘ingenious’ in making claims.

A preacher, a rock guitarist pensioner, and an award-winning hotelier were among those exposed in the last year.

The total number of cons detected in 2018 at 469,000, rose by 3% to 469,000, with their value up 6%. Every day, 1,300 insurance scams are uncovered, with the average con now topping £12,000, according to annual figures published by the Association of British Insurers.

During the last year, the equivalent of two cheats every week received a criminal conviction or a caution for insurance fraud.

Some insurance cons uncovered over the past year included:

– The ringleader of an organised gang that staged motor crashes to con nearly £1.2 million from insurers was jailed for six years. Other gang members also received jail sentences totalling nearly 33 years.

– A preacher, and self-styled bishop, was jailed for 10 months when found guilty of staging a motor crash.

– An award-winning hotelier was caught out claiming £34,000 in disability income from his insurer saying that his depression and anxiety meant he could not work, when he was in fact running a hotel.  He received a 14-month suspended prison sentence. 

– A man made multiple claims to different travel insurers claiming that illness meant he had to cancel his family holiday. He used fake airline tickets, bank statements and emails of hotel reservations to claim nearly £20,000. He received a 16-month jail sentence.

– A retired fridge engineer dropped his claim for hearing loss caused by his work, when it emerged that he was a frontman in a rock ’n’ roll band. Claim documents denied that he had any noisy hobbies. The judges gave the insurer permission to bring a case for contempt of court.

Mark Allen, ABI’s manager, fraud and financial crime, said: “Insurance fraud is the scourge of honest insurance customers who make genuine claims.

“Insurance cheats can be ingenious, and are constantly looking for new scams to exploit, which is why the industry makes no apology for spending around £250 million a year on measures to tackle this crime.

“Spearheaded by the Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, there will be no let-up in the industry’s determination to root out fraudsters and press for the stiffest possible penalties for these cheats.”

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