Arrests Made After Crackdown on Bogus Travel Claims

The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) executed warrants across the country as part of a crackdown on travel insurance fraud across the country, resulting in seven arrests. Bogus travel sickness claims have become something of a growth sector as the cheap dashcam has reduced the chances of crash-for-cash scams being successul.

The arrests formed part of an enforcement period led by officers from IFED, a specialist police unit dedicated to tackling insurance fraud.

This operational activity follows an awareness campaign run by the unit at the start of the summer holidays, asking the public to check that they are properly insured before travelling abroad in light of recent travel disruption. The campaign also reminded the public that exploiting a travel insurance policy to make bogus claims is a criminal offence. A video was released which outlined examples of claims which could land you with a criminal conviction, such as exaggerating the cost of a lost camera or claiming twice for a stolen item.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Hill, Head of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said:

“At the start of the summer holidays, we explained to the public what could count as a fraudulent travel insurance claim. Unfortunately, people continue to flout the law by submitting bogus claims with their travel insurer.

“During this enforcement period, we have seen the breadth of misfortunes that criminals will exploit for fraudulent gain – from an individual pretending to have food poisoning whilst on a Caribbean getaway, to an Organised Crime Group with inside links to insurance companies.

“Travel insurance is intended to be a reassuring safety net should the worst happen, not a means of personal financial gain. We hope that this period of enforcement sends a clear message to fraudsters: this type of crime will not be tolerated and we will bring criminals to justice for their actions.”

Over the past five years, IFED has received 57 referrals for travel insurance fraud at a total estimated value of £2,393,680.51, averaging at around £41,994 per case.

During the pandemic, IFED saw cases of individuals taking advantage of Covid-19 travel restrictions by submitting claims for cancelled flights and holidays that did not actually exist. As foreign travel resumes, the unit expects that criminals will refocus their attention on making claims for bogus incidents whilst on holiday.

recent IFED investigation saw a man from Liverpool jailed, after he used the identities of people he knew in an attempt to submit over £75,000 worth of bogus travel insurance claims. The fraudster made 15 claims with six different insurance companies for missed or cancelled travel, using excuses such as injury or disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alongside the resumption of foreign travel, there are predictions that the cost of living crisis could drive otherwise law-abiding citizens to fraud as a means to ease financial hardships. As a result, the unit anticipates that the rate of insurance fraud could increase.

This period of enforcement aimed to tackle this issue before it grows. Officers were deployed across operations in Hampshire, Surrey, London, Sheffield and Liverpool resulting in the following arrests:

  • A 37-year-old woman was arrested in Bognor Regis on suspicion of fraud by false representation, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
  • A 36-year-old man was arrested in Bognor Regis on suspicion of fraud by false representation, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
  • A 37-year-old woman was arrested in Bognor Regis on suspicion of fraud by false representation, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
  • A 36-year-old man was arrested in Chichester on suspicion of fraud by false representation, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
  • A 36-year-old man was arrested in Chichester on suspicion of fraud by false representation, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
  • A 35-year-old man was arrested in Bromley on suspicion of fraud by false representation.
  • A 27-year-old man was arrested in Liverpool on suspicion of fraud by false representation.

Officers also conducted twelve interviews in connection with these investigations.

Mark Allen, Chief Fraud and Financial Crime Officer, Association of British Insurers, said:

“The insurance industry remains totally committed to exposing insurance cheats, as the impact of insurance fraud ends up being paid for by all honest policyholders. Travel insurance plays a vital role in protecting people when they travel abroad, but not to line the pockets of fraudsters. This latest crackdown by the IFED further highlights that there is no hiding place for the dishonest.”

Neil Jones, Intelligence and Investigations Manager, said:

“People need to be aware of the potential consequences of making a false travel insurance claim – that they could potentially be denied insurance services in the future. IFED’s period of enforcement on this type of fraud serves as a useful reminder that travel insurance is there to help if needed, that it benefits us all and is not something to be exploited.”

About alastair walker 10204 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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