Fraudulent insurance claims worth £1.3bn were thwarted in 2016, ABI says

Aviva has spoken out against the increase in Insurance Premium Tax. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Aviva has spoken out against the increase in Insurance Premium Tax. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Insurers are thwarting more than £25m worth of fraudulent insurance claims every week, industry figures show.

Some 125,000 dishonest claims valued at £1.3bn were recorded in 2016, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The fraud figures were down slightly in number and value compared with 2015, which the ABI said was helped by a focus on stamping out organised fraud, including 'crash for cash' staged motor collisions.

The level of organised fraud fell by around 30% on 2015, with 15,000 frauds valued at £174m detected.

The ABI said the fall reflects the work of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), the specialist police investigation unit, in exposing crash for cash scams and other organised frauds, such as criminals offering fake motor insurance.

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It is also believed that fraudsters are moving into new areas such as bogus liability claims.

The ABI said there has been an 'epidemic' in false food poisoning claims made against some overseas hotels and tour operators, often encouraged by some disreputable claims management firms.

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The body said it has seen a small rise in opportunistic spur-of-the-moment motor insurance frauds, which it said may also be being encouraged by some disreputable claims management firms.

James Dalton, the ABI's director of general insurance policy, said: 'The vast majority of insurance claims are genuine, with millions being paid to customers every day.

'The industry does everything it can to keep premiums down and tackling fraud, which drives up prices for honest customers, is at the heart of that.'

Ben Fletcher, director of the IFB, said: 'Fraud is harmful in a number of ways, including the real and present physical risk posed day in and day out to road users, alongside the financial impact on individuals and business alike.

'These reductions reflect the general trend that we have seen in organised motor scams and is a welcome reflection of industry efforts to tackle the problem year-on-year.'

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