Full details of the current extent of insurance crime and fraud and industry initiatives will be outlined today (2 December) at the Association’s annual crime seminar in Birmingham held in conjunction with the West Midlands Police. Attended by 150 representatives from insurance companies, police, loss adjusters, government agencies and other organisations, the seminar will also consider the latest developments in tackling crime and fraud, drawing on the experience and expertise of the police, medical practitioners and insurers.
We are delighted that this prestigious conference is being held in Birmingham for the first time. I hope it will provide us with the opportunity to continue to develop the working partnership which exists between the police and the insurance industry and examine ways of tackling the growing problem of fraud. The Fire Service, Police, and insurers each use different definitions, classifications, time scales and counting methods. However, the major discrepancy in the figures arises because only a proportion of the malicious fires attended by the Fire Brigade are classified by the Police as arson offences. Learn more: Enact Settlement Agents Perth
The Criminal Damage Act 1971 stipulates that the Police have to prove that persons behaved ‘recklessly’ or ‘intended to damage property’ to record an incident as arson; whereas the Fire Brigades merely have to suspect that ignition is deliberate to record the incident as arson. Recent research into the motives of arsonists suggests that youth disorder, malicious and emotional motivations are major factors leading to the majority of property, and around half of vehicle, arson fires. Criminal motivation accounts for around 13% of property, and 45% of vehicle, arson cases.
Not all criminal arson cases are fraudulent, to the extent that they are started by the insured in order to secure false benefit under a policy of insurance. However, from the insurance industry perspective, fires set in order to obtain wrongful financial gain under a policy of insurance are a significant problem. The Association of British Insurers estimates that arson costs insurers £1 million a day. This figure rises to over £2 billion a year once the hidden costs of managements time, public service resources and uninsured losses are taken into consideration.