By Jimmy Higgins Executive General Manager, Claims
12 July, 2016
Insurance fraud affects all of us
Insurance fraud is a crime that everybody pays for. Insurers need to make sure that the cost of insurance premiums cover the cost of claims. When people make dishonest claims, the cost of everyone’s premium rises – even honest policyholders.
What is insurance fraud?
Insurance fraud can be anything that involves deceiving your insurer. It can be small – like adding an extra item or two to a claim. Or it can be big – like fabricating a claim event like a car theft.
Types of insurance fraud include:
Making false statements to support a claim
Falsely adding items that weren’t affected onto your claim
Making up a claim situation or staging a claimable event
Claiming the same item multiple times
Not telling your insurer material information. This can be things like that you’ve previously had criminal convictions or declined claims, or providing misleading information about the things that you’re insuring.
Making a claim for something that happened before you purchased your policy
No matter how big or small it seems, all types insurance fraud can have serious consequences.
Consequences of insurance fraud
People who commit fraud will have their claims declined and policies cancelled – they can even receive a criminal conviction.
If you have had a claim declined due to fraud, it may be difficult to get insurance cover in the future. Most insurers record claims in the Insurance Claims Register, so almost all New Zealand insurers can identify people with declined claims when they’re approached for cover.
Because people who have committed fraud can find it difficult to get insurance, they may also have difficulty taking out a mortgage or obtaining finance for a vehicle.
What can you do to prevent insurance fraud?
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent insurance fraud affecting you and other New Zealanders.
Read your policy terms and conditions carefully
Make sure you check the terms and conditions that apply to your policy, so that you can be sure you've met all your obligations before you’re in a situation where you need to claim.
For example, it’s important that you comply with our requests and disclose any material information we ask for.
You could also check out the Fair Insurance Code, which has information about what responsibilities you and your insurer have.
Honesty is the best policy
We all embellish a story from time to time - exaggerating the size of that marlin you caught is pretty harmless. But when you’re making a claim or taking out a policy with your insurer, you need to be honest.
Look out for others
If you are aware of someone who has, or is thinking of committing insurance fraud you should remind them that it could have serious consequences.
Ask for advice
If you think you need to make a claim but you’re not sure about your policy cover, obligations or other details of what is involved in making a claim, you can call us for advice – see our contact details. Otherwise you can talk to your broker or adviser about your policy obligations and making a claim. We’re here to help.
Reporting insurance fraud
If you're aware of someone committing insurance fraud, we encourage you to report it. There are a couple of ways you can do this: