A national agreement between the ABI (Association of British Insurers) and police forces around the country will now enable insurers quickly and easily to obtain information from the police whenever they suspect a fraudulent claim is being made.
Insurers will ask the police for further information where there is evidence that fraud has been committed, or where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a claim is fraudulent – for example to check the value of items stolen in a burglary listed in the police report form matches what is being claimed for.
This latest anti-fraud initiative comes as the ABI reveals the lengths some claimants will go to cheat an insurer. For example, a man claimed against his local council for head injuries, allegedly caused by tripping over a loose paving stone. Investigations revealed that his injuries were actually caused by punching a window while drunk.
A policyholder claimed that expensive computer and hi-fi equipment had been stolen in a burglary. No burglary had taken place, and the 'stolen' items were hidden in his loft.
In an attempt to pay off his HP payments, a policyholder pushed his car over a cliff, and then claimed it had been stolen. He was quickly caught out, since a picture of the car at the bottom of the cliff appeared in the local newspaper two days before it was alleged to have been stolen.
Debra Weekes, the ABI's anti-fraud manager, says: “Insurance cheats hit honest customers in the pocket. With fraudulent motor and household insurance claims alone costing insurers over £1 billion a year, the industry is determined to step up our efforts to protect honest customers. Enabling insurers to have quick and easy access to any relevant police information, such as burglary report forms, will close the net still further on anyone who thinks that insurers are a soft touch.”