Insurance: Scams, Fiddles and Honest Claims

There was an interesting programme on Channel 4 last week which followed the investigations of the insurance claim team from Norwich Union.

The programme displayed the range of techniques that insurance companies now use to weed out false claims, and it also showed the lengths to which people will go to try and defraud the insurance companies out of their cash. Some might say that it shows the lengths that insurance companies will go to get out of paying claims – I see it more of a necessity for them to reduce the amount of money that they pay out to fraudsters, which will hopefully keep premiums lower for those of us who have never and will never make a fraudulent claim. Apparently, all of our car insurance premiums are £30 higher than they should be because of the effect of fraudulent claims.

With one in 10 adults admitting to having made a fraudulent claim on a general insurance policy, such as home or motor insurance (source: ABI (Association of British Insurers) May 2007), insurance companies are on their guard. From spilling paint on a worn out carpet (one of the top insurance frauds), to criminal gangs staging accidents on Britain’s roads, it’s the insurance investigators job to decide who is telling lies, and who is telling the truth – and as this film reveals; there’s a lot to lose if they decide fraud has been committed.

The programme highlights why under no circumstances should you falsify any part of your insurance claims – even if just one item in a claim is found to be fraudulent you can have your whole claim thrown out.

It also showed how criminal gangs can generate a large amount of money from insurance scams – one particular scam shown was committed by a large group of people, and involved “induced accidents” – which at its most basic is done by making someone drive into the back of you. The size of the network and the number of claims they’d made was astounding.

If you’ve got the More 4 TV channel you might be able to catch the programme again this week.

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