Commercial claimants are worse than householders

Opportunistic fraudsters have been trying to take advantage of claims departments while they are working flat out to process flood claims.

The anti-fraud agency Absolute Partnership has reported an 18% rise in document fraud by householders in January and February, compared to the same months in 2013.

In this type of fraud, claimants physically alter invoices, make them from scratch, or contractors inflate quotes for repair work.

For commercial properties, there were 28% more cases of document fraud than last year. The most common fraudulent commercial claim was for under £1,500.

Absolute Partnership measures the number of fraudulent documents detected compared to legitimate claims, so the rise cannot be explained by an overall increase in claims volumes.

In the worst affected lines, one in 10 claims were exaggerated. The anti-fraud agency uses its Thirdeye software to pick out dodgy documents from legitimate ones.

Managing director David Beardsworth said: “It is natural to expect an increase in opportunism during times of weather disaster, but it is easier than ever these days to produce a plausible looking invoice or estimate, so the problem appears greater this year. Of course, this comes at a time when insurers have been working hard and looking to help their customers and make payments as quickly as possible.”