Following a second year of Covid-19 restrictions, and ongoing changes around the world to the way we live, work and play; insurance fraud remains an issue globally. However, the types of insurance fraud seen over the past two years will impact on the trends we can expect to see play out in 2022.
Insurance fraud trends in Aotearoa New Zealand
In Aotearoa New Zealand, we are still working towards closer collaboration between insurers on fraud matters. This will ensure we share information about insurance fraud issues and trends and maintain important resources such as our Insurance Claims Register. This enables insurers to use an individual’s claims history to inform the assessment of new claims.
In terms of common insurance crime, Aotearoa New Zealand has experienced rising vehicle claims for stolen catalytic converters as these are a growing target for thieves, due to the high value of the metals they contain.
There have also been instances of commercial building damage and fires, with the rise in claims in this area coinciding with more people working from home during the Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Tough times are often accompanied by an uptick in fraudulent claims.
Insurance fraud trends in the United Kingdom
As Covid-19 continues to impact the economy and people’s livelihoods into 2022, economic hardship will continue to be a trigger for some people to make fraudulent insurance claims.
Data is not yet available for 2021, but in 2020, the first year of the global pandemic, UK insurers saw an increase in both the average value of fraudulent claims as well as detection rates. The overall number of fraudulent claims was reduced though.
It’s no surprise that with fewer vehicles on the road, and less overseas travel, the number of fraudulent insurance claims for these insurance products reduced. The common trend seen in the UK however, is that the fraud value increased, as fraudsters tried to take advantage of the pandemic to get more money out of their insurer.
- UK Vehicle Fraud numbers, 2020: detected motor frauds fell by 6% to 55,000, while their value fell by only 1% to £602 million. Detection rates rose though (up 1.31 percentage points to 6%).
- UK Travel Insurance numbers, 2020: there were 770 detected scams, down 49%. Travel insurance scam value, at £1.8 million, was a 2% increase on 2019, and the highest recorded average claims value of £2,358.
Travel insurance claims were largely for the reasons of cancellation and curtailment. Total fraudulent insurance claims in the UK in 2020, were down 10% against 2019 and at their lowest levels since 2007.
“Despite a fall in the overall number of insurance frauds detected in 2020, mainly due to fewer motor insurance claims, both the value of the average fraud and fraud detection rates increased on 2019. This demonstrates how well insurers’ fraud investigation teams adapted to working remotely.”Source: https://www.abi.org.uk/news/news-articles/2021/10/detected-fraud-2020/
Ongoing collaboration between the insurance industry and law enforcement is also seen as important – acting on higher detection rates of fraud and bringing them to trial.
Insurance fraud trends in Singapore
In Singapore, a tripling of historically low insurance fraud rates between 2018 and 2020 has seen the local Police Force work closely with the General Insurance Association of Singapore to better investigate and tackle increasing fraud rates. Health insurance claims were one of the key insurance products to see an increase in fraud.
Insurers also receive support from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, who ensure that stringent fraudulent risk management protocols are in place. With a jail time of three to ten years for convicted fraudsters, it seems that Singapore is doing all it can to reduce insurance fraud.
Insurance fraud trends in the United States
Over in the US, 2021 was a year where vehicle theft and fraudulent claims remained high, with personal Auto insurance fraud continuing to increase. Fraudulent prior loss and damage claims (e.g. for vehicles and houses) also continued to increase.
US fraud trends that we should be looking out for globally include:
- Ghost brokers – the selling of forged or invalid insurance policies to consumers
- Bash and buy – breaking or damaging something then negotiating a heavily discounted price because of the damage
- Illegal use of temporary licence plates on motor vehicles
- Builders risk insurance delayed reporting – claims relating to delayed construction work
- Ransomware attacks – malware that denies access to files on a user’s computer
- Identity fraud – the theft of your online identity and financial information
The top three insurance fraud trends for 2022, as identified by the National Insurance Crime Bureau are:
- Prior losses or damage being claimed again
- Lack of cooperation from the insured
- Material misrepresentation
Looking ahead to 2022, key predictions for the US insurance industry include vehicle theft and catalytic converter thefts remaining high, ongoing issues with identity theft and increased fraud by the insured.
Know people making dishonest insurance claims?
Do the right thing! Do your friends and family a favour and tell them not to. Let them know that the actions they’re taking are considered fraud and a criminal offence. Importantly, if they get caught, a conviction can prevent their ability to get or maintain finance, including a mortgage.
You can also report insurance fraud by visiting our website. You can make reports anonymous if you wish.
Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. It is a crime that all policyholders pay for.