PRESS RELEASE

Watch out for ghost brokers! LV= identifies 143% more ghost brokers selling fake insurance

  • Policy fraud including insurance taken out by ghost brokers rises 31% in 2023.
  • New data reveals 143% rise in ghost broker referrals from LV= to the police, as the insurer roots out those behind the fraud.

Today, LV= General Insurance, one of the largest car insurers in the UK, has issued a fresh warning to drivers following data on insurance fraud relating to ghost broking, which continues to be on the rise.

Between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, LV= has seen a 31%1 rise in policy fraud, which includes insurance policies taken out by ghost brokers that are often invalid, resulting in victims driving on the road uninsured.

In addition, referrals of ghost brokers from LV= into the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) at the City of London Police has increased by 143%2 year-on-year between 2021/22. LV= is tackling the issue at the source and continues to bring those behind the organised crime to justice, referring higher numbers than ever to the police.

Don’t call on the ghost broker

LV= is urging customers to brush up on their knowledge of insurance related fraud. According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), in the last 12 months over 55,0003 fraudulent motor insurance applications have been discovered, more than double the figure previously detected, with ghost brokers linked to thousands of cases. The detection by LV= is due to a strengthening in its fraud defences, and catching the evolving tactics of criminals.

Ghost brokers are fraudsters who pose as online insurance brokers, often through social media or they rely on word of mouth through local communities and sell fake policies to motorists. Their aim is to target young and vulnerable consumers who don’t have a full understanding of buying insurance and are attracted by the low premiums offered.

Therefore, it’s important to check if an insurer or broker is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) when buying insurance, so you don’t get caught out wasting money on a worthless policy.

The realities

Often with insurance fraud cases a number of patterns start to emerge, indicating the involvement of a ghost broker. 

In one scenario, LV= cracked a ghost broking case which was referred to the police. Fiona was contacted by the insurer after she was found to be the victim of ID theft. She’d heard through a friend that someone could arrange cheap car insurance and had contacted them. Fiona got into a WhatsApp conversation, where she discussed car insurance unknowingly with a ghost broker.

The ghost broker stated he could get cheaper cover by changing the address and occupation on the policy, but Fiona decided not to do this, and provided her genuine details. She then received insurance documents, which turned out to be fake. The ghost broker then went on to use Fiona’s details to obtain further insurance for other people with her address and information.

Ben Fletcher, Director of Financial Crime at LV= General Insurance comments: “We’re working hard to proactively detect and disrupt the issue of ghost broking, protecting the victims and our customers. However, we need tougher regulations across social media platforms to protect vulnerable people and prevent the continued rise of ghost broking.

“There are so many different types of insurance fraud, so it’s crucial we help educate consumers about emerging trends and provide top tips to help them spot the signs. Our people, data and fraud intelligence sharing play a crucial role in coming together to combat insurance fraud and we continue to invest and update our systems and controls to help protect genuine customers.”

Jon Radford, Head of Intelligence, Investigations and Data Services at IFB, said: "The significant financial pressure that so many people are facing is sadly providing fertile ground for ghost brokers. These shameless fraudsters prey on the most financially desperate people, luring them in with too-good-to-be true car insurance deals on social media which are entirely fake. Not only are victims left hundreds of pounds out of pocket, but they can be stopped by the police and have their car taken away for no insurance.

"Ghost broking is a serious problem and we're determined to tackle it. We're actively investigating suspected ghost broking fraud networks in collaboration with police and insurers to protect more people from falling victim.”

 

Top tips to tackle insurance fraud:

  • If it’s too good to be true it probably is - don’t get lured by low premiums through a ghost broker because if you have an accident you won’t be covered.
  • Be careful how pay for your insurance – genuine insurers or brokers are unlikely to be asking for large admin fees to be paid in to separate bank accounts.
  • Validate the account you are being asked to pay money in to.
  • Don’t meet people offering to deliver your insurance certificate in car parks for cash payments.
  • Check the FCA register to ensure your insurer or broker is genuine.
  • Save your insurers number on your phone or keep it in your car so that if you need to call them on the side of the road following an accident you have peace of mind you’re calling them directly.
  • If in an accident take photos of the car damage, location and note how many passengers are in the other car so fraudsters can’t exaggerate damage or injuries.
  • At the scene of an accident check for witnesses and any CCTV or dashcam footage which may help prove what happened.
  • Anyone with evidence of ghost broking and insurance fraud can report it to the confidential IFB Cheatline, powered by CrimeStoppers, on 0800 422 0421.
  •  

Notes to editors 

For further information please contact:

Natasha King, Senior Press Officer at LV= General Insurance
Mobile: 07443237651
Email: [email protected]

  

1 31% increase in policy fraud from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023.

2 143% increase on ghost broking referrals to IFED from 21/22 YOY.

3 IFB’s 12-month data covering: 1 Oct 2021 to 30 Sep 2022.

 

About Liverpool Victoria General Insurance

  • LV= General Insurance provides car, home, pet, travel, landlord, breakdown and home emergency insurance to around 6.5 million customers in the UK.
  • We’re the UK’s third largest personal lines insurer with just over £2 billion in annual premium in income.
  • We offer our products and services directly to consumers as well as through intermediaries, including brokers, affinity partners and IFAs.
  • LV= General Insurance uses the LV= brand under licence from the Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Group.
  • We are part of the Allianz Group, one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with more than 125 million retail and corporate customers.
  • Within the Allianz Group, LV= General Insurance forms part of Allianz Personal, one of the largest personal lines insurers in the UK, with gross written premiums of £2.6 billion, almost 8 million customers and around 4,000 employees. Allianz Personal comprises LV= General Insurance, Petplan, Home & Legacy and Allianz Musical Insurance.
  • The LV= General Insurance newsroom includes links to our news release archive and image library.
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About the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB)

IFB is a not-for-profit organisation at the heart of the UK’s fight against insurance fraud. It acts as a central intelligence hub for industry members to share intelligence to help detect and disrupt fraud networks. IFB Investigators work alongside police forces, regulators and industry watchdogs to build evidence and support enforcement.

Since its inception in 2006, IFB’s investigations have helped to secure nearly 1,300 arrests and over 670 convictions (totalling more than 600 custodial years in prison).

IFB regularly runs awareness campaigns to help the public spot signs of insurance scams and encourages the public to report evidence of insurance fraud to its Cheatline. IFB is on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Learn the latest convictions on IFB’s media centre.

Press Contacts List

Natasha King
Senior Press Officer, General Insurance
07443 237651