May 5, 2017

Wouldn’t it be a simply brilliant idea to run ‘a large-scale advertising campaign to tackle the behaviours that drive people to commit insurance fraud or exaggerate on a claim’, wondered top industry magazine Insurance Tides this week?

This would be great, the paper explains, because ‘the triggers that cause people to exaggerate or lie on a claim are said to be driven by the large amount of money that can be made from claims which has exacerbated the compensation culture.’

So, presumably, all we’d have to do is explain clearly to people that ‘the large amount of money that can be made from claims’ is not the sort of thing they should allow themselves to be influenced by, and then they’d all stop exaggerating or lying on a claim.

It’s all a question, apparently, of correcting people’s cultural assumptions and encouraging them to repudiate the culture of compensation into which so many Brits, alas, have lately slid. That and telling them they’ll be in big trouble if they do try anything.

So how did leading industry figures take to Insurance Tights’ exciting new ‘large-scale advertising campaign’ idea?

Sadly, with a lamentable lack of imagination and enthusiasm. As we shall see.

Zurich claims fraud and investigations manager Scott Clayton is clearly a man who’s cracked a few nuts in his time. But of all the nuts he’s come up against, Scotty sees ‘getting the message out there on the consequences and cost of fraud’, as ‘the toughest nut to crack.’

On a scale from freshly roasted peanut to rock-hard macadamia, Scott says simply that ‘getting the message out there on the consequences and cost of fraud’ is ‘a nightmare to do.’

The ABI’s director in chief of policies relating to insurance, Jimmy Dalton, wouldn’t be drawn into the whole nut cracking debate but appeared to pour some distinctly luke warm water on the ‘large-scale advertising campaign’ concept, noting that ‘the industry needs to work out the best way to target the fraudsters before spending millions on an advertising campaign.’

‘Advertising campaigns are phenomenally expensive,’ concurred AXA global fraud man Dicky Davies, confessing that ‘we are spending a substantial amount of resources’ just trying to understand ‘what that target audience might be.’ On which point, it occurs to Bankstone News that perhaps they could run a series of hard-hitting print ads in publications like Something For Nothing, The Chancer and We Love Claims.

But maybe even that wouldn’t be enough crack this notoriously obdurate nut. As Andy Thornley head of public affairs at leading fashion retailer BIBA points out, ‘it would be difficult to change behaviour patterns with just a television or newspaper campaign.’

Maybe what we need is something like in A Clockwork Orange where they strap immoral people into uncomfy chairs, peel their eyelids back, and use on-screen shock therapy to re-programme their entire moral compasses. Sure, there might be a few legal wrinkles to iron out first, but it would be well worth it. And by proactively targeting low-life individuals whose profiles suggest a predisposition to participate in the compensation culture, we could nip the problem in the bud, as it were.

Just a thought.


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