Staged “crash for cash” car accidents used to be the insurance fraudster’s go-to crime.
But as the industry cracks down on organised gangs, putting lives at risk with their dangerous stunts, opportunistic crimes seem to be taking their place.
New figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that 125,000 dishonest insurance claims were detected in 2016, valued at £1.3 billion. While the usual whiplash, motor and property frauds still account for many offenders, some past scams have been a little bit more unusual…
- Up The River
“Canoe man” John Darwin gained notoriety in the British press when he disappeared in a 2002 canoeing accident, with his wife Anne paid £680,000 in life insurance – only for him to reappear in 2007. He claimed he had no recollection of the past five years, but was proven to have bought property with his wife in Panama. He’d returned only after visa laws changed and he was required to provide ID verification. Busted!
- Buried Truths
In the mid 1990s, playboy peer Lord Brocket attempted to repay mounting debts by filing a claim for three missing Ferraris and a Maserati, collectively valued at £4.3 million. In actual fact, the cars had been broken up and buried around his estate, Brocket Hall. Lord Brocket served half of a five year prison sentence, before gaining fame on reality TV show I’m a Celebrity. You couldn’t make it up.
- Sticky Fingers
Having received £35,000 over three years on a sickness policy for depression and anxiety that allegedly left him housebound, one Rolling Stones fan was caught out when he was discovered singing with tribute band Sticky Fingers. Well, it’s only rock’n’roll…
- Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Infamous for being caught cheating in order to win the top prize on Chris Tarrant’s TV quiz, Charles Ingram’s dishonesty came back to bite him when his house was burgled at a later date – his £30,000 claim was refused due to his failure to disclose previous incidents. D’oh!
- Effing and Jeffing
One fraudster not only tried to claim for injuries obtained when his cooker exploded – although the oven was undamaged – he then used abusive language towards insurance company staff to bully them into dealing with his fraudulent claim. He was taken to court and sentenced to 22 months in prison.
- He’s Armless Enough
Not many people would chop off an arm to claim on a dismemberment policy, which is why Michael LeDuc faked the loss of an arm in a wood chipper accident. He submitted forged medical records showing an amputation, but was caught out by his insurer – sure enough, both arms were still attached.
- Take It On The Chin
One jetsetter filed a claim with his travel insurance provider after he was allegedly assaulted in Brazil, leading to a broken jaw. However there was a problem with his supporting documentation. Not only was his police report faked, but the hospital he named was actually a cosmetic surgery clinic – he had actually undergone a procedure to reduce the size of his chin, and never mentioned an assault.