Saturday 24 August 2019

Half of us know someone who has committed insurance fraud - poll

Home insurance (Stock)
Home insurance (Stock)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

ONE in two people say they know someone who has committed insurance fraud.

But many are hesitant to report a suspected fraud due to a fear of being identified, according to market research commissioned by insurer Allianz and conducted by Red C Research.

And most people say they are not aware how to go about reporting fraudulent car and home insurance claims.

The Allianz research found that 46pc of those surveyed have heard of or know someone who has committed insurance fraud.

But a third of those surveyed said they would not report it for fear of being found out.

The research, among 1,002 people, found that most people would not be tempted to make a false claim, but 8pc said they would make a dodgy claim.

People least likely to make a claim are those aged between 18 and 34, those who work full time and people who personally know someone who has made a false claim.

Also unlikely to be tempted to make an exaggerated or make-up claim are those over the age of 55, homemakers and retired adults.

Chief executive of Allianz Sean McGrath said the findings are concerning and point to the need to further educate the broader public of the consequences of attempted insurance fraud.

“There has been progress in changing the perception of insurance fraud not being a victimless crime, but more needs to be done as this fraud costs the public in the long run.”

Mr McGrath said Allianz will continue to proactively tackle insurance fraud. He said a huge proportion of the claims it contested last year were fraudulent.

“Each case that Allianz won in 2018 delivered an average saving of €20,000 per claimant, which is in our customers’ best interest.”

The findings come as former High Court president Nicholas Kearns recently warned that Ireland has a huge problem with fraudulent motor claims, and there appeared to be no punishment for lying in court.

He said settlements for claims were large in this country, which encouraged fake claims; there was also very little chance of detection for those making false claims; and the other factor encouraging fraudulent claims was that few fraudsters were ever prosecuted for perjury.

Mr Kearns said the chances of a fraudster being charged with perjury were “infinitesimal”.

Meanwhile, another insurance company, Aviva, said it had paid out €182m in general insurance claims last year to customers and third-party claimants.

And it vowed to continue the fight against fraudulent claims.

The majority of the total was for motor claims, with almost €64mn paid to third party claimants as a result of personal injury awards.

Of those third-party claims that were paid out, whiplash remains the predominant injury, accounting for almost 90pc of the total.

Head of general insurance claims at Aviva John Farrell said the firm will continue to pay all genuine claims, whilst continuing to advocate for claims reform.

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