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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 05:29 GMT 06:29 UK
Insurance fraud 'costs UK 1.6bn'
Sterling notes
Insurance fraud costs 4m a day, the ABI claims
Fraudulent insurance claims cost UK insurers a total of 1.6bn a year, according to a report.

False claims cost the industry 4m a day, adding 40 to the average premium paid by policyholders, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.

Deliberate spills or cigarette burns on carpets and furniture, in order to make false insurance claims, were common examples of fraud, the ABI said.

The trade body canvassed the views of almost 7,000 people for its survey.

'More resources'

One-in-10 of respondents admitted to having cheated their insurance company, the ABI said.

These figures highlight that greater deterrents, such as criminal prosecutions, are needed to discourage fraud
Nick Starling, ABI

About half the total cost of dishonest claims occurred under home contents and buildings insurance, the organisation added.

Exaggerated claims for injury against local authorities - following a trip over paving stones - or overestimating the value of personal items lost while on holiday were other common examples of insurance fraud, the ABI said.

The organisation also cited the example of one man who claimed he was unable to walk following an accident, but was later photographed in his local paper collecting the top goal scorer award for his local football team.

"Honest customers should not have to pay for cheats," said Nick Starling, the ABI's director of general insurance and health.

"These figures highlight that greater deterrents, such as criminal prosecutions, are needed to discourage fraud. This is why we are calling for police forces to be given more resources so that fraud can be treated with the seriousness it deserves."

The ABI represents almost 400 companies, which account for more than 91% of all insurance business in the UK.

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