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Fraudulent claims detected by UK insurers fell by a tenth last year, a drop attributed by the industry to the ripple effects of business closures and driver lockdowns during pandemic restrictions.
General insurers identified 96,000 fraudulent claims in 2020, the lowest number since 2007, according to the latest data from the Association of British Insurers. Government schemes have also helped bring the numbers under control by easing financial hardship, which contributes to such attempts, said Mark Allen, head of fraud and financial crime at ABI.
The automobile, the largest segment, saw a 6% drop in fraudulent claims, which the trade body blamed on the reduced number of vehicles on the roads. The drop followed an overall drop in claims during the pandemic that boosted profits for auto insurers.
Fraudulent travel claims have also declined in the wake of the pandemic, although the ABI has reported a few colorful attempts, including one claimant who, when challenged, “tried to eat [the] falsified documents ”. False liability claims have also declined, as businesses have been forced to close their doors during shutdowns.
Ben Fletcher, director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, a credited nonprofit collaboration within the industry to prevent insurance fraud “from increasing as much as expected” during the pandemic.
The level of detected complaints as a proportion of overall complaints increased slightly, the ABI added, while average fraud increased in value by 6% to £ 12,000.