Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Insurance fraud can be dangerous

Insurance fraud is harder than it looks. Just ask Andreas, who lost his life trying to collect on an amputated limb. Just ask Musa and his son Essa, who hired an arsonist to burn down their Steak Thyme Subs shop so they could collect the insurance money. They promised him a $60,000 a year job, but where he would work once the shop was gone is unknown.

Three times he tried, and three times he failed to destroy the sandwich shop. The neighborhood was up in arms over the apparent "hate crimes" repeatedly being committed against the Jordanian immigrants. Whether it was a Molotov cocktail thrown through the window, or chairs doused with gasoline and set ablaze, the result was the same. Minor damage. This was getting them nowhere fast!

Eventually Musa grew tired of throwing good money after bad. For the fourth arson attempt, only 12 hours after the flaming chairs fizzled, he and his son decided to help out their hired hand. They spread gasoline around their eatery, so that a single match would do the trick.

Tragically, they apparently had more talent for arson than their amateur arsonist. They took a cigarette break. One lit cigarette later, an accidental gas explosion took out one wall, and burned both men over 80% of their bodies. Despite several weeks of hospitalized care, the men died from their injuries.

The inept arsonist faces a far lighter sentence: up to 10 years in prison.

Let that be a lesson to you!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

On the fiddle

One in 10 people would exaggerate an insurance claim if they believed they would not get caught and 7% admit to actually committing fraud, says a Norwich Union report.

Insurers often face criticism for using non-disclosure as a scapegoat in order to avoid payouts, but they have also said consumers need to take their share of the blame.

Following a survey commissioned by Norwich Union, the UK insurer said that up to 10% of all insurance claims are thought to be false, which represents a cost of more than £1.6 billion a year.

The research also showed that 75% of British adults believe that dishonesty is rife in today's society, and 46% believe the UK has seen a significant shift in attitudes over the past decade.

Dominic Clayden, director of claims at Norwich Union, said that as much as 60% of all insurance fraud is committed by those who are motivated by a belief that everyone else is at it. But he also said that another reason for fraud was that people were concerned they would not be paid the full value by their insurer.

‘These concerns are in fact entirely misplaced, our priority is to pay genuine claims in full, as quickly as possible,’ Clayden said.

Last year Norwich Union identified and denied 20,000 claims that it deemed were fraudulent, worth approximately £150 million.

Clayden said: ‘Not many people realise that if any part of their claim can be shown to be fraudulent, then the whole claim is potentially invalidated and you risk not receiving any payment at all.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Those crazy insurance claims - again!

A leading Insurance company has sifted through more than 180,000 car insurance claims and released a list of some of the craziest.

They include:

Silly Moo – You expect to see a few animals on a trip to the countryside but finding one on top of her car certainly took Mrs R by surprise. After crashing through a fence and making a rather large dent in the bonnet, the bull and driver were lucky to escape with minor bumps – the car was not!

The Big Sleep – Mr L found his trip to Holy Island in Northumberland so relaxing that as he sat in his camper van admiring the view, he nodded off. However, he woke up to find he’d parked on the causeway and the tide had come in. Whilst he was safely rescued by boat, his van sank without trace.

Upsetting the Applecart – A shocked Mr A was taken by surprise when he experienced a rather unusual downpour. It wasn’t rain showering down on his car but apples from a forklift truck

Supermarket Sweep – Flying balls, jumping deer and barking dogs...we thought we had heard them all until Mrs P claimed “several airborne shopping trolleys came flying towards me ruining my bonnet.” The offending trolleys had fallen off a delivery lorry.

All Washed Up – Mr K found himself in deep water on a trip to the car wash. When a brush came loose and scraped down the side of his vehicle he opened the door to press the emergency button. Unfortunately, the machine jammed in the open door, writing off both car and car wash

It just goes to show, you need to ensure you’re covered for all eventualities, however far-fetched they might seem.

Friday, 4 January 2008

A real Christmas story? Or a cheap PR trick?

It doesn't take much to get the old Insurance suits excited.

This week, one of our treasured and traditional insurers = Sainsbury’s (and I thought they were grocers) - issued a warning of an increase in home insurance claims from Boxing Day.

Yep - you read that right. Apparently, during December last year, the average value of home insurance claims received by them was £658.28, but on Boxing Day, this average soars to £2,209.31.

Apparently - according to the head honcho at Sainsbury's (one presumes its the bloke off the bacon counter) - over the Christmas period, we are at a higher risk of being burgled or, if we have our home full of friends and family, the chances of something breaking or being damaged can also increase.

My reaction? So what! What does the grocer wish us to do? Skip Christmas all together?

Maybe he should stick to his in-store bakery and tins of beans.

And leave his cheap attempts at getting in the newspapers to the politicians.

Bah humbug indeed!

Mind how you go now.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

I told you to mind how you go!!

With earthquakes that hardly trouble the Richter scale, and just one native poisonous snake, you'd think Britain was the safest country on Earth.

But that didn't stop more than a million of us ending up in accident and emergency last year - sometimes for the most bizarre of reasons.

These included three patients needing treatment after being bitten by a crocodile or alligator in the last year. The luckless trio were among 77 patients bitten by reptiles overall.

In addition, eight Britons got into a pickle with a scorpion, 12 pushed their luck with a venomous spider - and 725 had a nasty encounter with a hornet.

Fifty-five people were seen after suffering 'contact' with venomous snakes or lizards, and 22 came off worse from an encounter with a marine animal or plant.

The latest emergency hospital admissions statistics also revealed that one unidentified patient needed to see a doctor "for an illness resulting from staying too long in a weightless environment".

Another 60 Britons were seen by paramedics after being struck by lightning.

Doctors and nurses treated 4,660 dog bite injuries, with 1,369 of the victims being under 14. DIY enthusiasts also kept medical staff busy. There were 3,435 injuries while using power tools and other household machinery, and there were 452 lawnmower accidents.

Some of the other statistics might confirm suspicions over declining public services.

Amid fears that fortnightly bin collections are fuelling a boom in the numbers of vermin, it is disconcerting to note that 19 people visited a casualty department after being bitten by a rat.

Two of these victims needed to be admitted to hospital.

Equally worrying, 9,000 people were treated for illnesses contracted while in hospital and there were 162 cases of foreign objects being left in the body after surgery or other treatment.

Overall, 1,096,946 Britons were treated by casualty staff during 2006-07.

Not all of them injured themselves in such exotic ways, with more than 86,000 being hurt after "slipping, tripping or stumbling".

There were also 246 shooting victims, and nearly 6,000 people were stabbed, with all but 550 being men. On top of that, there were more than 3,500 cases of people being hit with a blunt instrument.

I told you to mind how you go didn't I?

Now - you take note.

And mind how you go.