It might sound a little Nineteen Eighty-Four, but there’s always a camera watching us. In fact, much of the time, it’s our very own. Our collection of selfies on Twitter and Instagram document our daily lives like a visual diary. And if not our social media accounts, it’s our friends’ or our family’s. Regardless of your age, gender or social circles, you’re bound to know at least one person who can’t help themselves but take a photo or a video of everything to put up on Facebook or whatever. It’s just so easy these days when we’re all armed with smartphones.
And the insurance industry, as well as consumers, have benefited greatly from this exhibitionist generation that so desperately needs to provide our peers with evidence of where we are and what we’re doing at all hours.
A record sum of £200m was invested across the insurance industry, which has led to detect and expose 350 insurance fraudsters each day, bringing back massive returns. In 2014, there were 120,000 detected insurance fraud cases. That’s an amazing 9% increase from the year before, saving insurance customers money as this subsequently helps to bring insurance policy premiums down for the honest majority.
Malcolm Tarling, from the Association of British Insurers, said:
“The vast majority of customers are honest but there are a fraudulent few out there who are pushing up the costs of insurance for everyone else. We’re spending over £200m a year in protecting honest customers. Cheats range from everything – the opportunist fraudster who puts in a claim for a stolen camera that wasn’t stolen while on holiday, to the organised, premeditated fraudster committing staged motor accidents.”
So what’s this got to do with social media?
Well, that’s the point, isn’t it. The very fact that our entire lives are up for public viewing makes it very easy to disprove an insurance cheater’s claim. Take these recent insurance scams for example:
The Musical Postman
A postman was jailed for 18 months after fraudulently claiming that an accident at work had left him disabled and unable to walk or even dress himself. He was later caught on video performing at a music festival. A medical examination found no evidence of him having any lasting injuries from his allegedly disabling accident.
The Dangerous Drain Cover
A man was convicted for fraud after claiming to have broken his ankle tripping on a dangerous drain cover. But he too, like the postman, was caught on camera. A spectator’s video online actually showed the moment when he broke his ankle. Not to a drain cover, of course, but by sprinting toward a river bank and leaping into the water… Spoiler alert: It was shallow.
The Supermarket Slip and Trip
It’s like something from the TV show “Better Call Saul”. But with CCTVs everywhere in supermarkets, and smartphones ready to record at a moment’s notice, insurers are easily catching those who are intentionally slipping and tripping down supermarket aisles. A man recently received a suspended jail sentence for doing just this to claim compensation.
Insurance Scams and Cheats – 2014 Statistics:
- Motor insurance made up the highest proportion of scams with 67,000 – worth £835m!
- Liability insurance scams detected rose by 75% to 19,800 – worth £330m!
- Property insurance fraud actually saw a 29% decrease when compared with 2013.
Of course the very vast majority of insurance claims are legitimate; these are just the small few who ruin it for everyone else by pushing up the costs of insurance policy premiums.