Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

Mar 09

‘Dizzie’ rascals now facing the music for Pet Insurance Fraud

Bad news for the potential pet insurance fraudster; emerging technology can now spot trends in claimants’ behaviours, average claim costs across both breeds and different animal types, and recurring payments to vets. One Surrey vet recently struck off following his conviction for pet insurance fraud, might never have been tracked down - but for the latest insurance claims technology. His scam involved claiming money for made up moggies that never existed including his phantom pet cat ‘Dizzie’. The claimant was the one left spinning, when a court sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment and initiated attempts to recover some of the staggering £198,000, falsely claimed.

This case highlights the growth of pet insurance fraud as the product becomes more popular.  At the same time it highlights how insurers have not treated pet insurance with the same rigour and technology they have deployed on more traditional lines. If nothing else, this case shows what a costly mistake this can be, especially when pitched against an individual who knows the system. The Surrey vet’s conviction comes in the wake of a fourfold rise in pet insurance fraud, leaving some insurers scratching their heads, whilst others excited by the prospect that just 35% of the nation’s pets are covered…the growth potential is enormous and relatively untapped. The supermarkets have entered the fray with competitive policies and prove that this niche can be operated profitably, providing the right technology and fraud identification assets are in place.

“While the Surrey vet was abusing a position of trust, his case clearly highlights the importance of implementing software solutions that can put the relevant information at your fingertips,” comments Mark Colonnese, Sales and Marketing Director of Aquarium Software. “Management by exception displays just the information you need and this can quickly flag areas of concern.”

While data mining and anti-fraud initiatives have been applied in the car and home insurance markets for years, this same level of precision has not yet been widely applied to the pet insurance market. Given the volume of fraudulent claims, it’s time for a rethink.

Pet insurance is not cheap. Estimates suggest fraud is pushing up the cost of the average policy to around £220 a year, so it is in the interest of consumers and insurance companies alike to put a stop to it.

“Fraud registers have been around for car and home insurance as a means to identify bogus claims and with the growth potential of the pet insurance market, there is a clearly a strong case for this here,” added Mark. “Vetinary records do not generally follow an animal moving practice (as opposed to humans) so a national register and claims database would help cut fraud and it looks like the industry is considering this move.”, Colonnese concluded.