A man, who claimed he’d suffered an injury at a shop but was recorded on CCTV deliberately falling to the floor and pulling boxes on top of himself, was amongst those targeted by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) in an operation aimed at suspected ‘opportunistic’ claimants.
Fifteen people suspected of submitting fraudulent insurance claims in an effort to get compensation were interviewed at police stations across England and Wales on 22, 23 and 24 May as part of the IFED 'day of action'.
Eight have been cautioned, and the remaining people have been released under investigation. In total, the attempted claims made by these people against the insurance industry amounted to £165,110.
‘Opportunistic fraud’ can be committed on all type of insurance, though IFED’s days of action have focused on suspected fraudsters who have allegedly made false personal injury claims, such as ‘slip and trip’, and household or property claims, for example exaggerating the value of item(s) lost or stolen.
IFED received referrals involving these types of claims from more than 10 insurers, including Admiral, Aviva, Co-op, Esure, and LV=.
In one case, a woman admitted to lying about being in a taxi when it was involved in a collision. The taxi driver contradicted her claim and said she wasn’t in the vehicle at the time, and was actually their customer waiting for the taxi.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe, Head of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said: “'Opportunistic fraud' is not a victimless crime and these kind of fake claims are felt by everyone. Through these days of action, we want to clampdown on this type fraud and hammer home to fraudsters, or indeed anyone thinking of making a false claim, that IFED and the insurance industry won’t tolerate it.
“These kinds of claims create a ‘compensation culture’ in the UK, with some claims management companies encouraging people to make frivolous and exaggerated claims, often with the alluring offer of a ‘no win, no fee’ service.
James Dalton, Director, General Insurance Policy, Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “There can be no let-up in the fight against insurance fraudsters, who push up the cost of insurance for the honest majority.
"From fraudulent whiplash style claims encouraged by some claims management firms to inflated losses, never have the chances of getting caught been so great or the penalties so severe. Being caught could not only lead to a criminal record, but also difficulties in getting future insurance and other financial products, like loans and mortgages. Initiatives like this send out a stark warning – there is no hiding place for cheats”.