Insurance fraud comes in a few different shapes and sizes. Some types of fraud are done on purpose, some types involve small lies that may seem like they won’t matter, and some are committed without the person committing them even realising.
The cost of insurance fraud each year is big — it’s in the billions — and while it may seem easy to ignore these costs because they only affect insurance companies, the reality is that insurance fraud ends up costing you and others, be it in the form of higher premiums, higher excesses or policies with more things an insurer won’t cover — all of which are aimed at cutting down the increasing costs of fraud.
But what exactly is insurance fraud? And how can it be avoided?
What are the types of insurance fraud?
Insurance fraud generally falls into a few categories: non-disclosure, exaggeration and deliberate.
Non-disclosurecan be both deliberate and inadvertent. Fraudulent non-disclosure basically means that you haven’t revealed information to an insurer that might affect their decision to insure you or to pay out a claim. For example, when applying for car insurance, you may neglect to mention a conviction for drink-driving or you may tell your insurer that your car is always parked in a secure garage overnight when, in fact, it’s typically parked on the street. It’s important to note that even unintentional non-disclosure is still fraudulent.
Deliberatefraud is premeditated and calculated in an effort to defraud an insurance company. That is, someone planned to commit fraud to make money. Common types of deliberate fraud include setting fire to property or faking a theft in order to receive an insurance payout.
Exaggerationis pretty straightforward and is mainly limited to when a person makes a claim — it involves exaggerating the amount of damage or the cost of the loss in order to increase the payout of a claim.
As you can see from the various types, insurance fraud isn’t limited to criminals. Even well-behaved people can often be tempted to leave out important information or inflate the value of a claim for their own personal gain, and it can also be the case that a person doesn’t realise they are committing a crime by exaggerating the facts or failing to disclose important information.
How can you avoid committing insurance fraud?
Obviously, if you are deliberately committing insurance fraud, then it’s quite easy to figure out how to avoid doing it. However, in order to avoid accidentally committing insurance fraud, there are a few things you can do:
What is the insurance industry doing about fraud?
Insurance companies are putting a lot of resources and money into combatting insurance fraud, and new technology and software is being used to identify it, along with specialist claims training and engaging with specialist investigators.
Additionally, the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Australia (IFBA) works with insurance companies to notify them of information relating to possible insurance fraud so that those companies can then investigate and act on these suspicions of fraud. The IFBA also works to help develop strategies that can be used across the industry to help stamp out insurance fraud and, as a result, protect honest consumers from having to bear some of the costs of insurance fraud.
The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) have an online form along with a toll free number (0505 372 835) where the public are encouraged to call and report information about potential Insurance fraud cases.
ICNZ use the information submitted to make investigations with Insurers who may take further action if necessary.
As a tenant we don’t often think it is necessary to have contents cover but this can be costly assumption to make.
A good contents policy not only covers your contents but also your Australia Wide Liability for property damage or personal injury you may cause including damage you may cause to the property you lease. We have outlined a few scenarios in which you could become legally responsible for damages to help explain this cover further.
▪ A pan catches fire causing smoke damage to the house and fire damage to the kitchen
This claim will range from $50,000 for clean up to the value to replace the entire building.
▪ Your pet damages the carpet and a scratches walls.
This could result in replacement of carpets and repairs to the walls costing $10,000. A Plaster and Paint of one wall is normally approximately $2,500.
▪ You throw a small party which gets out of control.
Uninvited or invited guests cause damage to the property inside and out resulting in repairs of $30,000.
▪ A friend visits and consumes alcohol, as they are leaving they trip and fall down a small flight of stairs.
We all have a duty of care for all persons on our property and this is legally seen as a breach of that
duty. Your friend could pursue you for medical costs and trauma. This type of claim would normally result in a minimum of $80,000 just to determine if you are liable or not. Should the claimant be successful this could increase to over $200,000.
▪ You have hired a scooter in Bali and you have your friend on the back, you have an accident and they injure themselves.
The cost of medical care and fights home will cost a minimum of $30,000. Once back in
Australia your friend may also pursue you for ongoing costs and compensation. This could result in legal costs and payments in excess of $200,000.
People without insurance who are confronted with the above circumstances are often faced with bankruptcy if they are not properly insured.
Contents insurance can be tailored to your requirements and doesn't need to be expensive. We will help you find a product that fits your requirements.
Thunderbolts and lightning are very, very frightening on their own, but add heavy rains tumbling down and golf-ball sized hail stones smashing into things, and there are many ways a storm can wreak havoc to both our property and us. Each year across Australia and New Zealand, storms and hail cause hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of property damage and injuries to people. Here you will find some information on what to do before a thunderstorm or hailstorm.
Here are some things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property if you live in a storm prone area.
On one of the television channels special report shows they had an session last week (May 2017) criticizing the insurance industry including a broker over damage to a vehicle that had been insured for only third party property damage.
This form of cover is risky in itself as there is no cover for damage to the vehicle when the driver themselves is at fault and or if it is damaged whilst parked and the person that hit the vehicle does not leave an honest note. Further there is no damage for weather perils or if the car catches fire or is stolen.
Having said this there are fire, theft and third party property damage covers available, but they are still not as good as comprehensive.
I do not know the circumstances of the matter and cannot comment as to why the other vehicles insurer is not coming to the party. There may be an exclusion such as drink driving, unregistered vehicle, or the vehicle may have been un-roadworthy. it is possible that the insurance may have expired. These are all risks you take when you do not have full comprehensive insurance.
In addition to remind people of this issue I also want to again warn that there are a lot of unscrupulous firms preying on unsuspecting people. They typically focus on people in the lower socioeconomic community. This group of course can least afford to be caught up in the scam financially and often do not have the training or experience to know how to fight the fraud.
What we have seen is such a person, end up with a repair bill of say $10,000, plus a hire car bill of over $25,000, kindly provided by the scammer, when the damaged car has a net value after salvage of say $5,000.
This is becoming a major problem in Australia, along with staged accidents, dodgy repairs. It was great to see arrests reported a little while back on fake injury claims and I know the insurance industry is throwing a lot of resources on building the case against many others as well.
The sooner the better as it sickens that any one is caught by scammers but particularly those who are already victims and can least afford it.
Any journalists out there please be careful of the companies you inadvertently promote in your programs and please go back after a few months and ensure that the whole thing has had a good ending for the innocent party.
The great promiseof autonomous vehicles , aside from saving you from the tyranny of commuting, is their ability to save lives by replacing stupid humans with intelligent computers. But these cars, at least in the short-term, could make driving riskier because people don't yet understand the technology or just how it works.
British auto insurance companies call this "autonomous ambiguity," and it is not an abstract issue. Automakers like Audi, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Volvo already or will very soon offer vehicles that do some of the driving for you. In a new white paper, the Association of British Insurers argues that drivers don’t understand the limitations of these semi-autonomous systems, and believe their car is more capable than it really is.
“This risk of autonomous ambiguity could result in a short term increase in crashes,” said Peter Shaw, CEO of Thatcham Research which collaborated on the report.
As magical as it may seem to sit in a luxury sedan as it zips down the highway without any assistance from you, these semi-autonomous systems remain somewhat basic. They combine adaptive cruise control to main a safe following distance and automatic lane keeping to keep the car within its lane. Such systems typically require clearly delineated lane lines, reasonably good weather, and, most crucially, driver attention in case something goes awry.
Dire warning aside, the British insurers “strongly support” vehicle automation, arguing that artificial intelligence will reduce accidents and save lives. Some 40,000 people died on US roads last year, and the figure is rising .
But the technology's early days worry the researchers. Systems differ, as do their capabilities. Automakers have varying ideas on how best to implement the technology, and because there are no standards, drivers can't be sure how a particular system works. And it's not like automakers are in a rush to explain what these semi-autonomous systems can't do—their flashy adverts typically highlight how clever they are.
With that in mind, the Association of British Insurers suggests a simple, two-stage, classification for cars—assisted or automated—and says international regulators should get on board. Under its proposal, an "automated" car is capable of driving itself in virtually all situations, come to a stop safely if it cannot drive itself, avoid every conceivable crash, and continue working even if something in the system fails.
Few people expect the automotive industry to reach that level of autonomy at a large scale for at least another decade. And that means just about every vehicle with any kind of autonomous tech will be labeled "assisted." That may seem like a small distinction, but the idea is to remind drivers that the car is not fully in control.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US agrees about the looming problem, but says terminology isn’t going to fix it. The automakers must find ways of ensuring that drivers understand they must be alert and ready to take the wheel. “They need to make sure the technology keeps the drivers engaged,” says IIHS President, Adrian Lund. “Just putting it in the owner’s manual won’t work.”
Automakers are taking heed. After Joshua Brown died when his Model S sliced under a truck that turned across his path in Florida in May 2016, Tesla modified its AutoPilot system with increased visual and auditory cues when drivers take their hands off the wheel for too long. Mercedes-Benz offers a similar trick with its Drive Pilot, although it can be confusing to use .
Cadillac takes things a step further with its Super Cruise , which the automaker calls the first truly hands-off semi-autonomous system. It monitors drivers using a camera behind the steering wheel to ensure they're looking up at the road, not down at their phone. It also engages only on divided highways.
The day is coming when your car is a better driver than you are. But until that day, consumers must remember that semi-autonomous vehicles are not infallible. Anything that automakers–and regulators—can do to remind them of that will only make everyone safer.
Cyber breach could kill your business, Lloyd's warns
At Austbrokers Coast to Coast we are always looking for tools to assist our clients to minimise their risk. A claim is not always the best result and, even though we can put cover in place to protect you against lost stock and machinery breakdown - sometimes prevention is the best measure!
Maxichill Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Specialists have kindly supplied the following information on a device that monitors your cold rooms over 24 hours 7 days a week and prevents you arriving to work the next day to a disaster!
This not only keeps your business running but prevents multiple claims damaging your claims history and pushing your premiums up or, at worst, resulting in uninsurable items.
FRIGBOT Info Guide
Frigbot is designed to work with all major electronic refrigeration controllers such as Carel, Dixell and Eliwell.
How it works –
Your refrigeration is at your command with Frigbot. With immediate access to all the information from anywhere you know exactly what is happening at all times. You even receive alerts so your equipment can call you when it's in trouble. Download the free companion app to have your Frigbot's information in your pocket.
Frigbot is a system of new business methods that connects refrigeration companies to fridge owners creating great value for our valued and future customers
Apple of Android Based APP
With Frigbot there is no software to download, no backups and no configuration issues with your PC or Mac. Why? Because it’s all in the cloud.
We do all the backups and take care of all the other tricky stuff like security and updates. Super easy. Always on. It’s the new way to do business.
Frigbot collects the operational data from your equipment and presents it in an easy to read graph. This can not only tell you the current status of your equipment but the Frigbot report* can tell you what was happening yesterday, or last week, or however long you want to go back. It’s your very own crystal ball that provides compliance documentation and is an essential tool for fault finding and troubleshooting equipment malfunctions. The Frigbot reports can also be used as a tool to predict equipment faults (maybe before they happen).
With Frigbot you can log in and update your configuration anytime you like and from anywhere you have internet access. But the magic doesn’t stop there because Frigbot also has an incredible and unique backup feature that saves all your settings - so when you need to replace a faulty controller you can download and restore your last known working configuration . This is unique to Frigbot and a genuine labour saving efficiency.
When refrigeration equipment breaks it can be a disaster: spoilt food and loss of trade sales (plus the emotional and financial stress of the whole event) and the only person who can solve the problem is usually the very LAST person to get involved. That’s the old way of doing business!
The NEW way alerts MAXICHILL Refrigeration FIRST . This simple alert triggers faster response and quicker repairs that mean less down-time. When there’s a breakdown the focus is all about turning the situation around as fast as possible and keeping any disruptions to a minimum.
Technical Info –
Frigbot has the ability to measure electrical current in real time. This is a more advanced feature but essential if you need the operational status of refrigeration equipment. If you measure electrical current you can remotely determine if a compressor has a potential fault - this is a huge time saver for a busy refrigeration mechanic.
Diagnostic and activation information is presented automatically on the low-power ePaper display.
The Frigbot uses the cellular network to send refrigeration status and configuration information to our cloud servers. No need for any Wi-Fi connectivity, use your Frigbot’s anywhere that a mobile phone works!
MAXICHILL REFRIGERATION & AIR-CONDITIONING
Ph: 0419 102 754
ABN: 85 041 779 812
The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance ( ANZIIF
) has announced the nominees for its annual awards.