The insurance industry is finally taking the tackling of insurance fraud seriously, according to Royal & Sunalliance's (RSA) fraud manager, Peter Jackson.

Jackson said the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Fraud Committee was the first time the industry had joined together to try to combat the problem.

RSA recently produced a report that showed seven in ten of the population would exaggerate a claim if they thought they could get away with it.

Favourite items used in “creative claims” were carpets, jewellery, expensive watches such as Rolex and Tag Heuer, computers and three-piece suites.

“This attitude to fraud is partly because people see exaggerating their claim as a return on their premium. That's a mindset we're trying to change,” Jackson said.

“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. Every time something gets put in fraudulently, the honest policyholders have to pay for it.”

Jackson said the ABI's estimate of 4% of claims being fraudulent was generally thought in the industry to be a conservative estimate. Fraud was difficult to detect because of the sheer volume of claims, he said.

As well as exaggerated claims, Jackson said the industry was concerned by the increasing number of premeditated claims, where people take out multiple policies and make repeated claims.

“Historically, insurance systems have not been good enough to detect this,” Jackson said. The ABI's fraud committee is due to report its ideas on tackling insurance fraud in the autumn.