Crime

Allianz: Organised crime and property claims among top 2020 fraud trends

Allianz’s organised fraud team also tackled over £5.5m worth of fraud committed by organised crime operations, resulting in 10 operations being opened and three closed in 2020

Allianz Insurance detected a record £65.8m worth of insurance fraud in 2020, as it took on claims from farmers, rogue loss assessors and organised crime, it has revealed.

The insurer said it saw a 6.5% rise in property fraud detection in 2020 with large loss claims accounting for £1.3m of savings, as a result of Allianz’s new large loss team adopting a ‘Know Your Opponent’ strategy focused on rogue loss assessors. 

It said a “significant volume” of fraud was linked to cavity wall insulation claims, with the fraud team detecting £2.6m worth of exaggerated and false claims. It noted this is a trend which continues to “pose a challenge” to the industry due to the prevalence of claims farming.

Allianz’s organised fraud team also tackled over £5.5m worth of fraud committed by organised crime operations, resulting in 10 operations being opened and three closed in 2020. 

Allianz revealed the “successful conclusion” of Operation Overwatch saw eight claims repudiated, resulting in fraud savings of £115,000; furthermore the claimants’ solicitor was referred to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for their involvement.

The casualty fraud detected in 2020 increased by more than £2m compared to 2019. Motor fraud remains prevalent and in 2020 Allianz pursued its first private prosecution case. A man who had claimed £4,000 for personal injury – but was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident – received an immediate 12-month prison sentence with no suspension, in a landmark win for Allianz.

The firm revealed fraud savings for the year were higher than the previous year, exceeding Allianz’s target by £2.9m.

Examples of more unusual fraud cases found by Allianz included:

  • A claimant alleged that a colleague stabbed her in the hand with a pen. She enlisted her daughter to lie in court and produced photos of her wound. However, documents visible in the images were dated months after the alleged attack, suggesting the wound was self-inflicted and the claim was staged.
  • A driver faked the theft and destruction of his own car, but his claim was debunked when forensics discovered his own blood on the steering wheel.
  • A pedestrian claimed for personal injury after tripping on a hosepipe, although CCTV footage showed him walking and staring at his phone before and after the obstacle.

James Burge, head of counter fraud said: “I am delighted that we reached such a significant amount in fraud detections and savings in 2020. We’ve taken proactive steps to improved collaboration over the past 12 months and these results demonstrate they are working. I’m very proud of our expert fraud teams – and everyone who plays a part in tackling fraud.

“During 2021, fraud detection and prevention will remain a key priority for Allianz and our plan is to continue to build on the collaborative approach we’ve put in place, which is clearly achieving excellent results.”

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