Consumers are being warned not to be tempted to make fraudulent travel insurance claims in a crackdown by authorities.
Concerns have been raised by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) that more people could be tempted to turn to fraud to make up for shortfalls from the rising cost of holidays.
Those found flouting the law can end up with in a record on the Insurance Fraud Register (IFR) and potential imprisonment.
Travel insurance claims are amongst the most costly, with some exceeding £120,000 in value, the two bodies claim.
Opportunistic fraud makes up 85% of travel insurance fraud cases, where people not linked to organised crime spot an opportunity to commit fraud to either save costs on an insurance application or make money on a claim.
Examples include forging medical evidence after falling sick or having an accident, exaggerating the value of stolen items, making bogus claims due to travel disruption, and having claims with multiple insurers for the same incident.
The IFB and IFED are trying to tackle the problem by promoting a series of YouTube adverts highlighting the “serious consequences” of making fraudulent claims at the start of the October half-term holiday in parts of the UK.
Insurance Fraud Bureau director Ursula Jallow said: “Travel insurance is there to give holidaymakers peace of mind should the worst ever happen, but often we find these policies are being exploited by opportunistic fraudsters.
“If you need to make an insurance claim, you must do so honestly. Any fictitious or exaggerated expenses for what otherwise would have been a genuine claim is still fraud and the consequences are serious.
“Insurance scams bring added costs for everyone else, which is why we’re collaborating so closely with insurers and the police to crackdown on the issue. Anyone with evidence of insurance fraud should report it to our confidential CheatLine service as soon as possible”.
Detective chief inspector Tom Hill, at City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said: “It’s important to fully understand the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy before going on holiday, so that you know what you’re entitled to claim for.
“Unfortunately, some people think nothing of abusing their policy by making fictitious or exaggerated claims, be it pretending an item that they lost cost more than it was worth or lying about needing medical treatment abroad. As a result, the cost of insurance is driven up for everyone, meaning that honest policyholders end up paying the price.
“This type of fraud is taken very seriously by IFED and the insurance industry, and can leave perpetrators with a criminal record or make it harder for them to access essential insurance services in the future.”
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