Fraud prevention

Insurance fraud is not a victimless or insignificant crime

Insurance protects against significant but uncertain losses through the pooling of risk. Insurance fraud — whether organised or opportunistic — undermines this pooling system because it depletes the funds paid by honest customers, leading to higher premiums.

“Detected and undetected fraud is estimated to cost honest customers and European insurers €13bn a year”

The insurance industry is proactive in fighting fraud. Its methods include: using technology and data analytics; cooperating with law enforcement agencies; and running information campaigns.

Insurance fraud myths versus reality

A little bit of fraud doesn't hurt anyone

False

Insurance fraud is often linked to serious organised crime and can fund the wider activities of criminal gangs. Many orchestrated frauds such as “crashes for cash” have implications for innocent road-users and put other people’s lives at risk.

Insurance fraud is growing

It’s more complicated than that

Insurers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques in order to successfully detect more and more fraud. At the same time, fraudsters are making use of technology, third parties and other “blind spots” to perpetrate criminal acts. Detected fraud is growing, but so too are potential blind spots. What is certain is that the problem of fraud persists.

Only fraudsters pay for insurance fraud

Incorrect

Insurers collect and administer their customers’ premiums to spread risk across the population. The bill for insurance fraud, ie, the fraudulent claims payouts and the cost of insurers’ prevention efforts, is picked up by honest customers.

Insurers are "fair game"

False

Insurance fraud is a serious crime that can result in major consequences for fraudsters, who may find their future job prospects affected, find it harder to obtain insurance and even face the prospect of imprisonment.

Nobody will find out if someone commits fraud

Untrue

Insurers are committed to doing everything they can to detect, disrupt and prosecute anyone attempting to fabricate a claim. Insurers are becoming increasingly effective at sharing intelligence and information about committed frauds to prevent them from reoccurring. This includes naming and shaming fraudsters.

Insurance fraud is easy to commit

Not true

While many frauds are committed by opportunists, the more elaborate frauds require planning, knowledge and expertise. Insurers continue to strengthen their systems and checks, as well as to collaborate with other stakeholders to fight all types of frauds.

The police don't care about insurance fraud

Wrong

Insurers cooperate with law enforcement agencies in many countries, as people who commit insurance fraud often commit other offences, such as tax fraud or defrauding social services. Fighting fraud is in the common interest of everyone except those that commit it.

Fraud stays the same

It’s more complicated than that

Cyber-enabled insurance fraud and identity fraud are two growing areas and insurers are aware of the changing nature of fraud. Insurers are increasingly making use of advanced analytical software to identify cross-industry patterns and alert the industry to fraudulent networks, for instance.

Publications

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Contacts

Nicolas Jeanmart

Head of personal & general insurance
+32 2 894 30 40

Áine Clarke

Policy advisor, general insurance
+32 2 894 30 58