Learn More About Life Insurance Fraud

Life insurance fraud refers to illegal acts committed by those buying or selling life insurance policies. In-vestopedia defines five different types of buyer life insurance fraud, from accidental suicides to falsifying medical records. Find out more and learn about two of the more famous cases of life insurance fraud.

Types of life insurance buyer fraud

Post-dated life insurance: a policy that is purchased after the death of the insured person but appears to have been issued before their death.

False medical history:Withholding information about existing medical conditions, whether or not you smoke etc constitutes one of the most common types of fraud. Coming clean with your provider might mean that your premiums are more expensive but this cannot outweigh the risk of reduced or rejected claims. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous doctors to falsify medical records on behalf of buyers.

Murder for proceeds: In this instance the insured person (spouse, business partner etc) is murdered for their life insurance cover or a policy is taken out in somebodys name without their knowledge and they are subsequently murdered for the life cover payout.

Lack of insurable interest: Insurable interest stipulates that in order to buy a life insurance policy in somebodys name you have to be able to prove that that persons death would cause you financial distress.

Suicidal accidents: This occurs when a person commits suicide but tries to make it look like an accident in order to ensure that their family can claim their life insurance cover.

Faking death or disability:It is not unheard of for someone to fake either death or disability to claim insur-ance payouts for themselves or their families. People have also created fake identities which have been killed or died with the family claiming life insurance payouts.

Famous cases of life insurance fraud
John Darwin, a British teacher and prison officer died in a canoeing accident in 2002 but was discovered alive and well and arrested five years later. His wife, who had claimed his life insurance payout, said he had been secretly living in their house and the house next door. Both were sentenced to over six years in prison.

In 2008 Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt were convicted of the murders of two homeless men, Paul Vados in 1999 and Kenneth McDavid in 2005. Both murders were staged as hit and run accidents. Multimillion dollar life insurance policies had been taken out on the men by Golay and Rutterschmidt.

Travel Insurance Fraud The Consequences

Rebecca and Shanti were both honest law-abiding citizens with law degrees from Sussex University, so it came as something of a surprise when they were recently arrested in Brazil for committing holiday insurance fraud. The two girls allegedly told the police that thieves had stolen around 1,000 of their possessions, including a camera and laptop computer. However, officers became suspicious of their calm demeanour and the fact that it had taken the girls days to report the alleged offence.

The police subsequently demanded to see the girls lodgings, where they claim to have uncovered all the possessions which the girls claimed had been stolen en-route to Brazils Iguassu Falls. Rebecca and Shanti could face up to five years imprisonment if they are found guilty of committing holiday insurance fraud in Brazil, and this sentence is actually quite lenient when you consider some of the punishments that they could face if they had committed the crime in a different country.

In England, tourists face up to 10 years imprisonment as a result of making fraudulent holiday insurance claims. This sentence could even be on top off additional penalties, such as repayment of the amount you claimed and compensation to your travel insurance company. You would have thought that the prospect of a ten year prison sentence would put most people of committing travel insurance fraud, but last year 4,300 dishonest claims worth 5million were made through holiday insurance companies in the UK alone.

Overseas police forces and travel insurance companies, have now started to get increasingly more vigilant about holiday insurance cheats, a policy which no doubt led to the arrest of Rebecca and Shanti. Details of fraudulent travel insurance claims have now been kept on an industry-wide database, which will be accessed by the Financial Services Authority and insurance companies. This means that anyone caught trying to commit holiday insurance fraud will now automatically face higher insurance costs and have difficulty obtaining other insurance cover, such as home insurance. On top of this, attempting to commit travel insurance fraud may also impact on your credit rating, which would make it more difficult to obtain goods or borrow money in the future.

It is reported that 75,000 Britons have at some point in their lives committed holiday insurance fraud, either by making a false claim or by exaggerating an existing one. Records from travel insurance companies show that Britons lose more Louis Vuitton luggage abroad than is actually ever sold in the UK.

So many fraudulent claims, however, could see the end of cheap travel insurance, as holiday insurance companies may need to put up their prices in order to make up for the losses that they may incur.

Rebecca and Shantis Brazilian sentence may have seemed tough, but if the girls had attempted to commit holiday insurance fraud within the UK then they would have risked a much stricter sentence.