Insurers have reported a dramatic rise in fraud in the pet insurance market. It appears the grim economy has led many people to desperate measures.
According to the Association of British Insurers, the total value of fraudulent claims that are detected has risen to just under £2 million a year -- up from just £420,000 the previous year.
The cases involve a wide variety of tactics, most commonly exaggerating vet bills, or claiming for pre-existing conditions, which are not covered by pet insurance. Other cases included policies and claims for non-existent pets, with one owner claiming to have handed an insured dog over to the RSPCA -- a claim that was quickly disproven. The most distressing cases included owners deliberately wounding or even killing high-value pets to claim a payout.
Insurers say they are discussing the idea of setting up a register of claims across all companies, similar to those used in home and car insurance. The register would help track customers who wrongfully make multiple claims with different companies or those who build up a suspicious pattern. It would also make it much harder for those who make fraudulent claims to take out new policies.