- General insurer LV= has uncovered 66% more ghost brokers in the last two years as fraudsters switched to more online tactics
- New data reveals nine in ten (91%) aren’t familiar with ghost broking and half (49%) aren’t confident or are unsure how to spot it
- Overall, 44% of adults don’t know how to check if an insurer or broker is regulated
LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) is urging consumers to brush up on their knowledge of insurance related fraud. The call comes as LV= GI has seen online insurance fraud rise considerably, uncovering 66%1 more ghost brokers in last two years and stopping the fraudsters in their tracks. In addition, new research2 highlights nine in ten (91%) of UK adults are unfamiliar with ghost broking. When made aware of what ghost broking is, half (49%) didn’t feel confident or were unsure they’d be able to spot it.
Currently, LV= GI is investigating 20 organised fraud inquiries linked to ghost broking and policy fraud, equating to £2 million in value.
Always best to check it out
Ghost brokers are fraudsters who usually pose as online insurance brokers and sell fake policies to motorists, and alarmingly 44% don’t know how to check if an insurer or broker is regulated even though a fifth (22%) said they would trust an online marketplace or social media company to buy insurance. Furthermore, nearly six in ten (58%) of those aged under 25 had no idea how to check if an insurer or broker is regulated, with this age group most likely to be targeted on social media sites by a ghost broker. When looking at gender, 64% of females said they’d have no idea. In addition, of those that said that they knew how to check if an insurer or broker is regulated, two in five (43%) said they’d trust the insurance company’s website.
Claims farming was also identified as a fraud type that nine in ten (91%) are unfamiliar with. This is when a person or business such as a claims management company (CMC) will encourage someone to make a false or exaggerated claim to make money - usually a personal injury claim - after a car accident. Nearly half (47%) stated they weren’t confident or were unsure to spot or prevent this type of fraud, with one in ten (10%) admitting they’d been targeted or fallen victim in the past.
Staying in the know
Keeping up-to-date with the latest insurance fraud is crucial, however a third (33%) confess they don’t, rising to 52% for those aged 18-24. Fraud is evolving all the time, with fraudsters continuing to find loopholes to trick consumers. Of those who claimed they’d fallen prey to a vishing scam, where victims receive a call from someone pretending to be from a genuine organisation such as a bank, over half (55%) had lost money as a result.
On the insurance fraud side, of those who admit being targeted 34% had been a victim of a google ad-scam, where consumers search for their insurance company phone number and end up unwittingly calling through to a CMC without realising following an accident. They think they’re talking to their insurer and get conned in to expensive hire cars or forced to give a share of up to 40% of any compensation they may be owed.
Let’s talk about it and report it
According to the data, a fifth (19%) of adults wouldn’t know how to go about reporting insurance fraud if they fell victim. This rises to a third (31%) for those aged between 18-24. In addition to this, of those who had fallen victim to a fraud nearly three in ten (28%) said they didn’t report it because they were too embarrassed, 26% said they just accepted the loss as their mistake and 33% weren’t sure if anyone would have done anything about it.
Matt Crabtree, Head of Fraud Strategy at LV= General Insurance comments: “We’ve been cracking down on ghost broking, intercepting much more activity as fraudsters increase their online presence. What’s encouraging is as a result of working to identify those behind the crime we’ve seen a decline in the number of fake policies taken out with us. However, this research highlights there is still more to do to help consumers understand insurance fraud, especially ghost broking and we’re committed to doing just that.
“There are many different types of insurance fraud which can be a little dauting, however checking out the emerging trends and top tips will help us all become much more confident to spot and stop it. We also continue to invest and update our systems and controls to help protect genuine customers and encourage anyone to report suspicious activity to the Insurance Fraud Bureau Cheatline.”
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
- Check the FCA register to ensure your insurer or broker is genuine
- Save your insures 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 cars 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
- Report any suspected fraud via the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) Cheatline
For further information:
1 Number of ghost brokers LV= GI has reported to The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) from January-August 2019 to January-August 2021.
2 Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of LV= GI between 19th and 25th August 2021 surveying a nationally representative sample of 2011 UK adults.