3 min read August 2nd, 2017
€200 Million Lost from Your Claims Funds Each Year
Each year in Ireland, an estimated €200 million is lost from Insurance claims funds due to Fraud. At Allianz Ireland, our Fraud teams work with our Claims & Underwriting Functions; as well as with An Garda Síochana to protect our valued customers.
Insurance fraud has been steadily growing in Ireland in recent years. While often seen as a victimless crime, Fraud sees hundreds of millions of euros taken from funds set aside by Insurance Companies to pay valid claims each year. Insurance companies pool customers’ premiums, in a claims fund, to cover the cost of claims; with a portion of this going towards fraudulent activities and behaviours.
At Allianz Ireland, we don’t think it is fair that the majority of our honest customers are paying for the small minority who commit insurance fraud. To fight against the fraudsters we are continuously on the look out for ways to reduce Fraud. While there are many types of Fraud; the most common ones we encounter are Underwriting fraud, Claims fraud and “Ghost Brokers”.
Underwriting fraud can vary from not telling your insurer about claims you’ve had in the past, to giving incorrect answers to questions asked during a quotation, or sending fake or forged documentation in order to secure a cheaper premium.
Claims fraud is where a policyholder submits a false claim or tries to exaggerate their genuine claim. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of staged accidents, with a number of high profile cases being reported in the media.
There has also been an increase in activity from ‘Ghost Brokers’ in the Irish Motor Market. This is where an individual pretends to be an Insurance Broker and offers a customer an insurance policy at a lower price but gives them a fake policy and documentation, leaving the customer driving around uninsured. An Garda Síochana have recently released the following tips to help you from falling foul of Ghost Brokers:
If in Doubt
Should you find yourself feeling suspicious of a person or firm offering to sell you motor insurance, contact the Central Bank of Ireland or a reputable insurance company. The Central Bank will be able to advise, as will an Insurance Company. Insurance companies keep a record of all brokers selling their policies so can easily advise you if a broker is legitimate.
Too Good to be True
If it seems like too much of a good deal, it may well be. Make sure you double check all is OK before handing over any payment.
Fighting the Fraudsters
At an industry level, Allianz Ireland is an active member of the Insurance Ireland Fraud Committee. The overall goal of the committee is to reduce the level of fraudulent activity in the market and in turn lower the cost of insurance premiums.
At Allianz Ireland, we are similarly committed to tackling the issue of Insurance Fraud and we take a zero tolerance attitude to it, investing heavily in developing processes to identify fraud. Our expert team of experienced Underwriters and Claims handlers are trained to spot fraud indicators and identify fake documentation. We cross reference new policies to look for previous cancellations and claims. Allianz have the ability to check information the customer has given relating to their previous claims history, penalty points, convictions and vehicle details. In cases where we identify fraud indicators we appoint private investigators. More than half of suspicious insurance claims received turn out to be of a fraudulent nature. In cases of suspected fraud we engage with An Garda Síochana, pursuing cases to the full extent of the Law.
Caught Red Handed
The consequences of committing insurance fraud are extremely serious. Allianz will cancel a policy and/or refuse to pay a claim where fraud has been committed. This leaves the individual in the position of having no insurance, and will also result in difficulties obtaining insurance in the future. Furthermore, Insurance Fraud is a crime punishable by a maximum fine of up to €100,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison. Convictions are made under the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.
Allianz remains committed to fighting Fraud and to offering our valued customers the best solutions and service we can. In this respect, your on-going support is greatly appreciated. If you are aware of or suspect Insurance Fraud, please report it to insurance confidential on 1890 333 333 or visit http://www.insuranceconfidential.ie/.