’Insurance fraud is a crime that continues to cost insurance companies,’ says claims director

Ecclesiastical has revealed that its claims team had to deal with a record number of fraudulent cases during 2023.

The specialist insurer explained that it had detected more than 230 scam claims during the year, with the rise being partly driven by stormy weather.

Bad weather battered the UK in 2023, with several storms leaving homes and roads flooded.

Ecclesiastical said it received a range of fabrication and exaggeration claims as a result.

For example, it saw multiple cases of people submitting claims for pre-existing damage to properties when storms occurred.

In one case, a homeowner submitted a claim for damage to the roof and guttering of a property following a recent storm.

However, Google streetview revealed the damage was present in 2017.

The specialist insurer also saw fraudulent claims relating to single high value personal items, such as watches or rings, rise 50% year-on-year.

Jeremy Trott, claims director at Ecclesiastical, said: “Insurance fraud is a crime that continues to cost insurance companies, and ultimately customers, billions of pounds each year.

“We’ve seen some trends emerging, including those related to storm damage where claims have been fabricated or exaggerated when storms have occurred – but also for high value jewellery items, such as watches and rings.”

’Financial pressures’

Ecclesiastical also had to deal with a range of false cases for alleged slips, trips and falls across hotels, educational settings and heritage properties.

In one case, a claimant stated they had sustained a back injury at work, but was seen in a TikTok video being picked up and swung around with no issues.

The work of the specialist insurer’s claims team was able to save the company over £1.8m in property claims and £1.2m in casualty claims.

“With the UK continuing to experience economic volatility, businesses and households are already faced with difficult financial pressures – which is why it is so important that we keep our premiums low,” Trott said.

”By investing time, money and effort into pursuing false claims and dealing with them in the strongest means possible, we can help to deter would be fraudsters and help protect our customers.”

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