It has been reported that every week around 2670 fraudulent insurance claims worth £19million are uncovered as insurers aim to crackdown on insurance cheats, according to an Association of British Insurers (ABI) report. It was found that dishonest motor insurance claims were the most expensive fraudulent claims with 45,000 bogus claims uncovered that could have cost up to £541million.
In order to protect honest customers, the insurance industry has just launched the ‘Insurance Fraud Register’ that will fundamentally contain details of all known insurance fraudsters. Insurance companies will add names to the list when they suspect a new claim to be fraudulent, they will then notify the client that they are on the register, and inform them of a right to appeal.
ABI’s Director General, Otto Thoresen, commented: “The development of the Insurance Fraud Register marks 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.”
However, although the ABI have collected this invaluable data it seems as though they are not particularly eager to share it with personal injury lawyers along with other stakeholders in the marketplace. Thoresen suggested that it could take up to a year before information can be shared as the scheme needs to be up and running properly beforehand.
James Maxey, managing partner at Express Solicitors, commented: “Interesting to see how the insurers are winning the propaganda war here. They’re the ones who define bogus or exaggerated . Only a small percentage of people are shown at court (civil or criminal) to be fraudsters each year. Why can`t or wont the insurers push these cases to court to sort out properly the (in reality) few bad apples? I am a solicitor representing injured people against insurers, in the vast 99% plus of the 15,000 or so cases my firm has handled in the last decade the insurers have tried very hard to deny claims or pay much less than we recovered for clients in the end. They say people exaggerate claims but perhaps insurer behaviour needs looking at. Last month I settled with my home insurers for a water leak – having not claimed in 10 years -I put in a reasonable claim -but for silly reasons that won`t stand up in court they offer me 20% less- I tell them that they are getting sued in 7 days- they then pay me in full– what happens to the folk that aren’t legally trained? Why wont they share their ‘fraud’ database with the claimant solicitors so we can stop money being wasted on toe rags? What I`m worried about is genuine claimants being scared off because the insurers might unilaterally put them on their fraud register.”
It is baffling as to how the ABI can claim to have a zero tolerance approach to fraud when it refuses to assist claimant lawyers access the database of known fraudsters. The time and effort saved within this industry by having access to the ‘fraud database’ would be greatly appreciated and highly valued.