Dodgy claims; firm action
Insurers are tightening up on fraudulent claimants after the holiday season. By Nic Cicutti
Wednesday 27 August 1997
About 14 million people will have gone on holiday this summer and insurers expect an avalanche of bogus claims of about pounds 50m - more than 10 per cent of the total claimed for - to intensify during the coming weeks.
Among the more unusual claims noted by Home & Overseas Insurance, which provides cover to five million people each year, is that of the family who went on holiday to India. Unfortunately, the mother died of natural causes while out there. The family then threw her body under a taxi in order to claim under the insurers' accident policy. A post-mortem revealed that she had been dead for 24 hours before being struck by the cab.
Other cases filed away by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the industry trade body, include:
The absent-minded individual who managed to lose a total of 33 suitcases over three years. The cases were lost on planes, trains, ferries and motorway service areas and from almost every conceivable form of transport. The one, bizarre, unifying feature of the claims was that each lost suitcase contained scuba diving gear.
A young man who attempted to finance his round-the-world trip by making false claims in most of the continents he was passing through. This hapless traveller found police waiting for him on his return.
The middle-aged woman who claimed to have left a bag with pounds 3,000-worth of jewellery on an aircraft. Unfortunately for her, within a few weeks she also reported a burglary at her home in which identical jewellery was listed as stolen.
One foreign national claimed for losing a suitcase on a UK flight. He was arrested for making a false claim, and when police searched him they found false documents enabling him to ship five stolen cars abroad. He was extradited to his own country where local police were waiting to charge him with armed robbery.
While some bogus claims are laughably stupid in their execution, most involve small one-off claims for a few hundred pounds, the loss of a bag containing a camera, portable stereo and sunglasses, or inflating a genuine claim to include something that never existed.
But even for small-size claims, mounting evidence suggests a resistance by insurers to paying out - or far more stringent checks to ensure that the claim is genuine.
Police who in some countries have traditionally signed forms to say that the loss or theft had taken place, thus allowing a claim to be made in the UK, are beginning to get tough. In one case, a man who "lost" his video camera was visited in his hotel room. His camera was there.
In other cases, insurers add, claims for particular items are claimed for - such as cameras or personal stereos - that were not yet made in the year in which they were said to have been bought. The ABI says that the scale of fraudulent claims adds about 10 per cent to the typical pounds 25 to pounds 40 insurance premium paid for a two-week European holiday.
Tony Baker, deputy director general at the ABI, says: "Travel insurers are determined to stamp out bogus and inflated claims. [They] are aware of most kinds of fraud and will be looking out for tell-tale signs in processing claims."
Sara Joannides, marketing manager at Home & Overseas, adds: "We have ways of checking things up. We do ask for receipts and can spot if they have been doctored in any way. We will call in investigators to look at claims and can ask the police to investigate definite fraud.
"People think this is some sort of victimless crime and we all know that no one likes insurers. But other people's premiums are forced up as a result. In reality, every time someone inflates a claim, they are committing fraud. And we do prosecute fraud".
Mark Dampier: 'We're on our own in retirement. They've pulled pensions to pieces'
Donald MacInnes: 'I have to have £500 a month spare from now until at least 2035'
HSBC becomes first bank to offer five-year fixed rate mortgage with interest rate under 2%
Crippling PFI deals leave Britain £222bn in debt
Pension freedoms: How to deal with cold calls from scammers
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...
Day In a Page
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000