Insurers are fighting a constant battle against people who see insurance fraud as a victimless crime.
Putting in an exaggerated or even completely bogus claim is seen by some as getting one over insurance companies. In fact they are cheating honest customers because of the impact on insurance premiums.
Allianz was recently involved in a high profile case after boxer Randal Barlow had his £35,000 whiplash claim denied after a YouTube video of him emerged competing in a six round boxing match.
Mr Barlow was involved in an accident on the M26 after a lorry shed its load in front of the car he was a passenger in. He initially filled a compensation claim suggesting the injuries from the accident had stalled his boxing career for four months. However, the video showed him competing on February 2017, only two months after his accident.
The court heard how Mr Barlow had exaggerated his claim to increase his compensation. High Court judge Peter Blair QC said: “I have to conclude, and I am sure of it, that he did not have an honest belief in the truth of those two matters. So I do find that contempt of court has been established.”
Mr Barlow was found guilty of two counts of contempt of court and ultimately given a £300 fine. The judge said that it was important that it was understood that lies told in court proceedings would not be tolerated and that an element of deterrence was required.
Nick Kelsall, fraud manager at Allianz, agrees but feels the punishment did not fit the crime. Nick said: “I think the punishment was lenient considering the nature of the case and the sum of money involved.The courts must send out a clear message that cheating on insurance is a serious crime and the only way to do that is to hand down strong punishments to offenders. It’s wrong that honest customers pay more for their insurance because of the criminal actions of a small minority. Allianz will not hesitate to take suspected fraudsters to court and last year we saved £65m in preventing fraudulent claims and expect to save a similar amount in 2019.”