June 21, 2013

Where have all the decent motor insurance fraud exposed stories gone?

Bankstone News got the distinct impression this week that the interior lower surfaces of the motor insurance fraud story barrel were being given a good and proper scraping-down this week, on learning, separately (so we don’t distract the other students) that a couple of scousers have been nabbed hacking into insurer payment systems to insure 13 cars for around £30 (the lot) – and that some woman had been caught purloining seven odd thousand to spend on a shopping spree. Is that really the best we’ve got?

The full unedifying details are as follows.

In a truly bizarre bid to take out lots of motor insurance policies for a tiny fraction of their true value, Jimmy Edwards and Danny Wilson hacked into Insure My Box and another insurer’s payment systems and took out policies for 13 cars for around one thousandth of their true value.

Given that the actual premium for one of these vehicles, a ‘high-performance car’, should apparently have been £68,000 (presumably there aren’t too many McLaren F1s parked on street in Croxteth or Anfield) their resort to fraud becomes a bit easier to understand.

The policies all featured the name and/or personal details of J Edwards and had a total theoretical premium value of £187,000. That’s around £9,000 each, excluding the ‘high performance’ vehicle, so presumably Mr Edwards looked like a fairly high-risk customer, even within the highly-suspect young male category.

Whether the duplicitous duo ever filed any claims on any of these policies is not clear from press reports seen by Bankstone News. The fraud came to light when Merseyside Police stopped one of the insured vehicles and were shown an Insure My Box certificate of motor insurance that had been voided several days earlier.

The case was passed on to crack police fraud team the FEDs (Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department) and before long the game was up for Edwards and Jones. If not for the FEDs’ extraordinary sleuthing skills the fact that Edwards had insured half a dozen cars each with two different insurers for a few pounds each – or that he’d secured an annual premium of just sixty-eight quid for a super car – might not have been enough to catch them out!

Andy Loftus of Insure My Box told Post Magazine, from whom we have filched most of the details for this story, that “This case highlights the benefits of insurers, using a combination of sophisticated monitoring tools and skilled analysts, working with the police to quickly identify and stamp out fraudulent activity.” This is surely true, and no doubt the prison sentence handed down to Mr Edwards will send a clear message to would-be fraudsters that Insure My Box will not tolerate policyholders shifting the decimal point three places to the left when paying for their insurance online.

But why did they do it? Loftus has a theory: “They obtained these policies in a bid to convince police and highways authorities that they were legally insured drivers so they could move around the country undetected.” Now that just sounds chillingly sinister to Bankstone News.

In other sensational motor insurance fraud news (as promised above), we can reveal, completely non-exclusively, that insurance claims handler Kelly Mawson, 29, has been given an 18-week suspended sentence (plus 250 hours community service) by Leyland Magistrates’ Court in Lancashire after she abused her temporary authority to settle claims during the Scottish floods in October and November last year to pay herself a dozen fake household claims (rather tragically) using the names and addresses of previous successful claimants.

Once again, the FEDs played a key role, stepping in decisively after the insurer became suspicious as to why policyholders were phoning up to ask why they’d received letters saying they had a payment made to them, when they didn’t remember making a claim and – more importantly – hadn’t had the money.

All somewhat pitiful, really.

Bankstone News’ robust message to insurance fraud news makers everywhere could not be clearer: must try harder!

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