If you work in insurance, you are probably aware of the cost of insurance fraud. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) the average cost of fraudulent insurance claims in 2018 exceeded £12,000 per claim, with 1,300 scams uncovered every day. Insurance provider Aviva says there were over £53 million-worth of proven/suspicious fraudulent motor insurance claims in 2018, with the problem on the increase.
Fraudulent claims in respect of motor insurance remain the most common (with claims totalling £620 million in 2018). However, fraud in respect of general insurance claims is also a major concern.
Aviva reports the value of fraudulent liability claims (e.g. bogus slip-and-trip accidents) rose by 20% to £14 million in 2018.
The knock-on effect for both insurance providers and the public is expensive. Claims can cost insurers millions, and this contributes to rising premiums.
Fighting fraud through private investigations
Insurance companies can conduct private investigations into potential fraudulent claimants. This has a significant impact on lost revenue, and saves insurers time and resources.
Background and lifestyle checks
With personal injury and motor claims being the most common, some simple background and lifestyle checks can provide valuable information from the very start of the claims process.
This could be as straightforward as finding a claimant’s true address or if the person claiming really is who they say they are. However, it could be more specific, e.g.
- Has a claimant alleging chronic and debilitating pain, following an accident, recently renewed their gym membership or been photographed on social media while engaged in outdoor pursuits?
- Has a claimant made similar claims previously?
- Do they have previous convictions for fraud?
A background check can also include an investigation into the financial assets of a claimant or even an organisation. This may reveal whether a claimant is in financial difficulties, trace previously undeclared assets or the involvement of accomplices in a larger scam.
A few timely and careful checks can save significant effort. It may be that it becomes clear that this is a genuine claim, or checks may result in a few alarm bells that may warrant further investigation.
Surveillance of insurance fraud suspects
The next port of call is often to carry out covert surveillance, covering both a subject’s home and workplace as well as their general lifestyle. This can be done on foot or by using hidden cameras.
At Trojan Surveillance, we can normally trace a person’s movements within hours of an initial investigation briefing. Our experienced team will determine whether the case involves fraud, helping to avoid protracted enquiries.
With a detailed report, as well as video and photographic evidence of a subject’s lifestyle and behaviour, it puts insurers in a strong position when confronting the claimant or dealing with the matter through the law courts.
Tracking down witnesses
An independent witness can be valuable when it comes to verifying events. However, there can be any number of reasons why a private investigator is required to help track them down:
- Their details may not have been taken down
- They may not be a genuine witness
- They may have given false details
- They may have moved house and forgotten about their involvement.
Evidence for the courts
If you are gathering material in respect of a claim, insurers always need to be certain the material is reliable, obtained legally and admissible in court. That means choosing a reputable private investigator. They should be experienced, understand UK surveillance and data protection laws, and UK legislation governing the admissibility of evidence.
Private investigators in the fight against insurance fraud
Private investigators are an increasingly important part of the fight against insurance fraud. They provide a cost-effective solution to what can be a complex and time consuming situation.
At Trojan Surveillance we combine considerable experience of insurance fraud investigation with state-of-the-art technology and a thorough understanding of the law.
We are members of the Association of British Investigators and have an established network of specialist investigators stationed across the UK.
If you are interested in learning more about how we are lending our knowledge, experience and skill to companies trying to detect insurance fraud, get in touch with a member of our team for a confidential discussion.