SUN, SEA & SCAM: City of London Police reminds people to check they are properly insured before going on holiday, as travel chaos continues
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As many flights to and from the UK continue to be delayed or cancelled, the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) is reminding the public to check that they are properly insured before heading on holiday.
Due to increased travel disruption, it is important for holiday-goers to check what their policy includes, particularly to ensure that they have the necessary cover for a delayed or cancelled holiday.
With predictions that the cost of living crisis could drive otherwise law-abiding citizens to fraud as a means to ease financial hardships, the unit is also reminding the public that exploiting a travel insurance policy to make bogus claims is a criminal offence. IFED has today released a new video which outlines examples of claims which could land you with a criminal conviction, including:
Exaggerating the cost of a lost camera;
Pretending that you became sick whilst on holiday;
Alleging that your suitcase went missing;
Claiming twice for a stolen item; and
Editing a receipt or email to claim for something that wasn’t covered by your policy.
Watch the full video here:
Detective Chief Inspector Tom Hill, Head of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said:
“After two years of travel restrictions, this summer will be the first trip abroad for many since the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many people who have already tried to get away this year have faced disruption to their trip due to ongoing issues with airlines and airports. As a result, it’s more important than ever to check what your insurance covers and that you have the right type of cover before you head on holiday.
“Some people may think that there’s no harm in tweaking a travel document to cover something not included in your policy, or lying about the dates of your trip because you forgot to take out insurance beforehand and now need to claim. However, these are both examples of insurance fraud and could land you with a criminal record.
“These fraudulent claims also drive up the cost of insurance premiums for honest policyholders.
“Don’t turn your dream holiday into a nightmare. Claim honestly and check your cover before you check-in.”
Mark Allen, Chief Fraud and Financial Crime Officer at the Associatio of British Insurers (ABI), said:
“Appropriate travel insurance that meets your specific needs is essential to protect you from what can be jaw-droppingly high overseas medical bills. Insurers know that most customers are honest and will pay legitimate claims as quickly as possible. As many households face financial hardship, customers will expect insurers to tackle the cheats now more than ever. That is why insurers will continue to protect their customers by clamping down on anyone making fraudulent insurance claims to raise some cash. The chances of getting caught have never been greater, or the consequences more long-lasting. The only thing you stand to gain will be the possibility of a criminal record, with future insurance and other financial products harder to obtain and more expensive.”
Ben Fletcher, Director at the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), said:
“Across the insurance world we’ve seen countless instances where people think it’s acceptable to provide false information on a claim to make some extra cash, but consequences of doing so include potentially being denied insurance services in the future. Travel insurance is there to help should the worst happen, but it doesn’t mean that these assurances can be exploited.”
During the pandemic, IFED saw cases of individuals taking advantage of Covid-19 travel restrictions by submitting claims for cancelled flights and holidays that did not actually exist. As foreign travel resumes, the unit expects that criminals will refocus their attention on making claims for bogus incidents whilst on holiday.
Some criminals do not think there will be consequences to their fraudulent actions as they see international borders as a hindrance for police investigations. However, this is certainly not the case. IFED and the industry take this type of crime seriously, and work hard with international agencies to bring perpetrators to justice.