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Business Comment

James Moore: Insurers must share the blame for fraud

Outlook Insurance fraud is reaching epidemic proportions, according to Aviva. It gets some 45 dodgy claims a day, worth more than £300,000. And those are just the ones it picks up.

Some of the near 20 per cent increase it puts down to economic factors, some to organised criminal gangs, some to the perception of insurance fraud as a victimless crime. Which it is not. We all pay through higher premiums (£50 a head, according to the Association of British Insurers).

But this negative "social attitude" that Aviva bemoans must come from somewhere. And the industry's practices have played a big part in its establishment. Lodging a legitimate claim can be a miserable experience, and those unfortunate enough to find themselves in that position are often punished through having to pay higher premiums in subsequent years.

Aviva says it's improving its detection methods to fight the problem. But such companies don't need sophisticated sleuthing. There's an easier way: the industry could clean up its act.