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Watching the Beautiful Game?

Published: 30/06/14

It appears insurers are on the alert as counter fraud specialists VFM Services warns that forthcoming major sporting events such as the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Tour de France - all taking place this summer, signal a rise in fraudulent TV claims.

And it seems this is the case, as they tell us that 2014 has already seen an increase in questionable claims for TVs, with 41% of them identified as fraudulent.

In the run up to the last World Cup in 2010 TV claims rose by almost a quarter (23%), compared to the three previous months. VFM say of TV claims received by them during this period, four in ten (39%) claims were not settled due to fraud; where the customer walked away from the claim after going through VFM’s conversation management process.

Sally Griffiths Director at VFM commented: “We see a marked increase in the number of claims for TVs in the run up to big sporting events and with this year set to be a big summer for sport we are expecting fraudulent insurance claims to peak. The majority of claimants are honest, but insurers know that some people want to have the latest upgraded model to enjoy and are prepared to commit fraud to get it ‘for free’. So insurers will therefore be extra vigilant when receiving claims for televisions or other portable media devices this summer. Damage to TVs being one of the most popular that VFM sees referred to its conversation management process”.

The figures seem to talk for themselves e.g. in 2011 – not big for sport – 3,112 TV claims were investigated, rising to 5,195 TV claims in the Olympic year 2012. Last year, not so big for sports, the number of investigations decreased to just 1,447 TV claims. This year is set to be huge for sport and as predicted the number of investigated claims has risen dramatically.

Griffiths added: “Insurers are using better fraud detection methods to monitor the claims that they receive, and are taking a more coordinated approach to putting a stop to the fraudsters. Of all the claims for TVs we expect to receive this year, based on our experience and historical data, we expect just under half will be identified as potentially fraudulent, saving the insurance industry a predicted £250,00 on TV claims alone.”

However according to figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), it’s not just a desire for a new TV; the value of fraudulent insurance claims uncovered by insurers rose to a record £1.3bn in 2013, up 18% on the previous year. A total of 118,500 bogus or exaggerated insurance claims were detected by insurers; equivalent to 2,279 a week, the ABI's research revealed.

The average fraud detected across all types of insurance products was £10,813. Fraudulent motor insurance claims were the most expensive and common, with the number of dishonest claims at 59,900 claims up 34% on 2012 and their value at £811m, up 32%. The number and value of property insurance frauds fell compared with 2012, with 35,000 frauds detected, or a 38% decrease. The value of these frauds was £137m. The trade body noted that since 2007, the value of dishonest general insurance claims detected has more than doubled, with the number detected up 30% over the same period.

Aidan Kerr, the ABI's assistant director, head of fraud, said: "The vast majority of customers are honest and rightly expect tough action against the fraudsters.

“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, which is why the industry invests £200m a year in fraud detection, including funding the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, and developing the Insurance Fraud Register, a central database of known insurance cheats.

"The more that is done to crack down on the dishonest, the quicker and more effectively insurers can deal with the claims from the honest majority."

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