There have been lots of pandemic related insurance trends in the UK over the last year, such as a decrease in car collision claims overall, the near collapse of the travel sector, plus an increase in claims for damaged electrical items like laptops and TVs in the home.
Regardless of the pandemic and all its economic hardships for the self employed or those in the retail/hospitality sectors, there has been a growing trend towards organised attempted fraud over the last decade in the UK. As it becomes harder to organise crash-for-cash in a dashcam era, fraudsters are looking for new opportunities. Here’s some news from Allianz;
Allianz Insurance detected a record £65.8m worth of insurance fraud in 2020, as it took on claims farmers, rogue loss assessors and organised crime. The fraud savings were higher than the previous year, exceeding Allianz’s target by £2.9m.
Allianz saw a 6.5% rise in property fraud detection in 2020. Large loss claims accounted for £1.3m of savings, as a result of Allianz’s new large loss team adopting a ‘Know Your Opponent’ strategy focused on rogue loss assessors. A significant volume of fraud was linked to cavity wall insulation claims, with the fraud team detecting £2.6m worth of exaggerated and false claims. This is a trend which continues to pose a challenge to the industry due to the prevalence of claims farming.
Allianz’s organised fraud team tackled over £5.5m worth of fraud committed by organised crime operations, resulting in 10 operations being opened and three closed in 2020. The successful conclusion of Operation Overwatch saw eight claims repudiated, resulting in fraud savings of £115,000; furthermore the claimants’ solicitor was referred to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for their involvement.
The casualty fraud detected in 2020 increased by more than £2m compared to 2019. Motor fraud remains prevalent and in 2020 Allianz pursued its first private prosecution case. A man who had claimed £4,000 for personal injury – but was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident – received an immediate 12-month prison sentence with no suspension, in a landmark win for Allianz.
Examples of more unusual fraud cases include:
- A claimant alleged that a colleague stabbed her in the hand with a pen. She enlisted her daughter to lie in court and produced photos of her wound. However, documents visible in the images were dated months after the alleged attack, suggesting the wound was self-inflicted and the claim was staged.
- A driver faked the theft and destruction of his own car, but his claim was debunked when forensics discovered his own blood on the steering wheel.
- A pedestrian claimed for personal injury after tripping on a hosepipe, although CCTV footage showed him walking and staring at his phone before and after the obstacle.
James Burge, head of counter fraud said:
“I am delighted that we reached such a significant amount in fraud detections and savings in 2020. We’ve taken proactive steps to improved collaboration over the past 12 months and these results demonstrate they are working. I’m very proud of our expert fraud teams – and everyone who plays a part in tackling fraud.
“During 2021, fraud detection and prevention will remain a key priority for Allianz and our plan is to continue to build on the collaborative approach we’ve put in place, which is clearly achieving excellent results.”