We tend to have a cynical view of insurance companies; we pay them money on regular intervals, and for those of you fortunate enough not to make a claim, never see anything back. Insurance should be thought of as a peace of mind that if never used it’s a great news, as it means you have not had the misfortune the insurance was taken out to protect against. So why do some people think an insurance company owes them and commits fraud? I suppose only a degree in criminal psychology will answer that.
Famous insurance frauds may seem funny when you see them on the news, but they cost each and every one of us. Who can forget John Darwin? You may not know his name, but when his nickname of “Canoe Man” is mentioned, you know instantly who he is. Faking his death to cash in his life insurance policy may seem funny to the rest of us, especially when he was found living in the house next door. A teacher in the US gave pass grades to her students and in exchange they burnt her car so she could get an insurance pay out; hearing of the story may also give you a chuckle, especially when all she got in return was a jail sentence.
Then there was the winner of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” who cheated his way to the jackpot with the help of a coughing friend. He had also staged a burglary to receive almost £30k in insurance pay outs. We have all heard of stories in the news where houses and businesses have been set alight and joked “I bet that was an insurance job”; well it might have been just that.
It is in fact no laughing matter.
Insurance companies are very much aware of this risk and tend to have special staff in special departments on the lookout for such frauds. This all costs money and do the insurance companies do this out of their own pocket, not wanting to burden the effects of the criminal few on the law abiding majority? We all know the answer to that; it is a proportion of our premiums that fund this investigative work.
So next time when you are on a price comparison site, trying to get the lowest premiums possible, remember they could, and should, be lower still. Anyone who has been hit by an uninsured driver for example, knows the cost of people not following the rules relating to insurance.
Samantha Wild shares her views on Insurance Fraud on behalf of Contractors Compare.com