Prevent yourself/your insurer from being the next victim of motor insurance fraud
Cases of motor insurance fraud continue to be prevalent in Singapore today, injuring innocent motorists and causing motor insurance premiums to rise. If you are a driver on the roads, you should equip yourself to prevent yourself from being the next victim of motor insurance fraud. Find out more about how to beware of motor insurance fraud and what you can do if you suspect that you might be deceived in this article.
Common examples of motor insurance fraud
Motor insurance fraud involves conspiring to make false or exaggerated claims relating to personal or property damage resulting from an accident. Some common examples of fraud include staged accidents where fraudsters deliberately ‘arrange’ for an accident to occur, the use of phantom passengers (where persons not present at the scene of the accident suddenly appear to claim to have suffered serious injury due to the accident), and making false personal injury claims where the injuries are grossly exaggerated.
Recent articles have brought to light some of these underhanded actions of syndicate motor insurance fraudsters.
What to do if you suspect that the other party’s claim is dubious
If you have valid grounds for believing that the other party’s claim is suspicious, you should contact your insurer immediately. Supporting information and evidence would be required by the insurer to support your assertion. Your insurer will then examine the information available and determine if the other party’s claim can be contested. If so, the insurer will take the next steps in doing so.
Alternatively, you can alert the General Insurance Association (GIA) of any potential fraud by reporting a fraud through its website. The GIA of Singapore is an association of insurance companies that seeks to make all aspects of insurance easier and more effective for various stakeholders. GIA will then contact the respective insurers and inform them of the allegedly fraudulent practices of the party. If necessary, the police will be contacted to step in and conduct investigations. You should also call the hotline immediately when you have been offered money by touts to submit inflated or fraudulent claims to motor insurers.
How to guard against motor insurance fraud
High level or well-orchestrated fraud accidents are hard to detect and harder to prove. While there is no fixed formula in weeding out fraudulent claims, you can protect yourself by remaining vigilant on the roads at all times. Observe the actions of those around you, especially if you see another vehicle coming dangerously close to you. If you are involved in an accident, be alert and examine the claims made by the other party. If there is a questionable picture of events or any claims that appear exaggerated, investigate further and request for more information to be provided by the other party.
A practical way to better safeguard yourself against motor insurance fraud would be to invest in a car DVR. A car DVR is a device that records video inside a car. This allows images of the road to be captured while driving, which minimizes opportunities for dishonest drivers to file fraudulent claims given that there is concrete evidence of what actually transpired. A car DVR is useful as evidence even when you are making a legitimate claim after a motor accident.
On the part of the insurance industry, stakeholders such as GIA have been intensifying efforts to educate the public on motor insurance fraud. GIA has regularly embarked on regular consumer education programmes on the radio, as well as in newspapers. Together with insurance companies, they are also tapping on the use of data analytics and other tracking mechanisms to expose fraudulent claims. Many insurance companies have also set up special investigation units in order to intensify efforts to uncover and combat motor insurance fraud.
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