Insurance Crime Bureau Annual Report – Trends to be aware of

The Insurance Crime Bureau has just released its Annual Report which provides a comprehensive overview of the activities of Bureau, as well as a few interesting case studies.

“Over the years, various initiatives have been implemented by The Insurance Crime Bureau to address organised crime in the industry as well as a number of educational efforts aimed at the public to create awareness of insurance fraud scams,” Hugo van Zyl COO mentions in the report. According to van Zyl the high incidents of insurance fraud and related crimes in both the Short- and Long-term industries are of serious concern to both the insurance sector and law abiding citizens of the country. “These offences adversely affect the sector and pose a negative impact on the growth and development of Insurance companies, and premiums paid by customers,” he remarks.

Short term operations

This year, the Bureau’s main focus was to effectively address criminal syndicates targeting the insurance industry. “Not only did we increase our capacity in the area of vehicle crime, but also increased our capacity to deal with the ever increasing threat of service provider and staff dishonesty in the insurance industry. Syndicates have become even more brazen in their attempts to defraud the financial industry,” Louwrens Liebenberg, the Bureau’s Head of Short Term Insurance shares.

Long term operations

Life insurance fraud has also increased and according to the Bureau insurance companies are being forced to be extra vigilant as there has been a significant increase in fraudulent death claims in South Africa. Some experts are saying that fraud costs the combined insurance industry billions per year.

“However, the true impact and cost of fraud is not quantifiable as it extends far beyond payments of inappropriate claims, especially in cases where lives are lost for insurance policy payouts,” Johan Steyn, the Bureau’s Head of Long Term (Life) Insurance notes.

“The biggest problem in South Africa is that crime tends to involve a level of physical violence in both the Short Term Industry as well as the Life and Funeral Industry where we continue to see a large number of “murder for money” syndicates. In these events there is a large societal impact for which, as the insurance industry, we have to take responsibility,” he concludes.

Click here to download the report for interesting case reports.

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