Opinion Former Article

Lying in the sun this summer could seriously damage your wealth, warns ABI

Dishonest holidaymakers were given a stark warning today (6 August) by the ABI. This summer, anyone caught cheating on their travel insurance will face higher insurance costs, problems in obtaining other insurances, more expensive credit, and possible prosecution. Last year, travel insurers detected 4,300 dishonest travel insurance claims - over 80 every week - worth £5 million.

Insurers and overseas police forces are becoming more vigilant, and are determined to crack down on the cheats. Details of fraudulent claims are kept on industry-wide databases used by insurers, and other financial institutions, and they may increase the cost of other insurances such as motor and household, as well as impacting on an individual's credit rating.

Potentially suspicious claims include the last minute loss, where items are reported lost or stolen to the insurer very shortly before returning home, with no time to report the loss to the police, and claims for high value items, such as cameras, jewellery and camcorders, where there is a lack of proof of the loss or theft.

Nick Starling, the ABI's Director of General Insurance and Health, said:

"Travel insurance is there to cover you if things go wrong, not to pay for the cost of your holiday. The vast majority of claimants are honest, but the dishonest few are in for a nasty and expensive shock this summer. Details of fraudulent claims are held on industry databases, which will impact on the cost and availability of other types of insurance, such as motor and household, and affect an individual's credit rating."
Some of the more unusual travel insurance frauds exposed in the past include:

. A photographer was jailed for three months after he claimed for £8,000 worth of camera equipment allegedly damaged while on holiday.
. A holidaymaker in Cyprus reporting an alleged theft was caught out when the resort police discovered the 'stolen' items in her friend's handbag.
. The 'recovery expenses' claimed by a traveller following a bout of malaria contracted in West Africa were in fact for services provided by the local brothel.
. A doctor was given a custodial sentence and barred by the BMA after making multiple baggage claims.

- ENDS -

Notes for Editors

1. Enquiries to:
Jonathan French 020 7216 7392 (Mobile: 07958 330 480)
Malcolm Tarling 020 7216 7410 (Mobile: 07776 147 667)
Erfan Hussain 020 7216 7411 (Mobile: 07712 841 184)
Kelly Ostler-Coyle 020 7216 7415 (Mobile: 07968 364 302)

2. The ABI is the voice of the insurance and investment industry. Its members constitute over 90 per cent of the insurance market in the UK and 20 per cent across the EU. They control assets equivalent to a quarter of the UK's capital. They are the risk managers of the UK's economy and society. Through the ABI their voice is heard in Government and in public debate on insurance, savings and investment matters.

3. An ISDN line is available for broadcasts.

4. More news and information from the ABI is available on our web site, www.abi.org.uk.

More Articles by Association of British Insurers (ABI) ...

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