Growing numbers of Britons exaggerated home claims in 2011

Data from AXA’s own claims department shows tens of thousands of customers have been ‘caught’ making exaggerated claims in the last couple of years. 

Last year, the company revealed that exaggerated claims added as much as £13 to every home insurance policy.
This year’s data suggests that as money continues to be tight, insurance is still seen as a soft target for making a bit of extra cash. In fact the research revealed that 12% of people would be more likely to consider making an exaggerated claim now than three years ago.  The data also revealed that only 45% of people consider an exaggerated claim to be dishonest.

London tops the list of places where people have exaggerated claims, not just by number but also by value.  The research also suggests that men are nearly twice as likely as women to have exaggerated a claim. As well as exaggerating claims, consumers were asked what other kinds of behaviour they considered to be dishonest when making a claim. 

* 58% considered it was not dishonest to neglect to mention previous claims
* 56% believed it was not dishonest to say windows/doors were shut or locked at the time of the theft when in fact they weren’t

* 48% felt it was okay to submit a receipt belonging to someone else in order to make a claim
* 43% believed deliberately damaging an item to make a claim was not being dishonest 

Steve Gaywood, head of fraud at AXA insurance said:  "As an industry we are well aware that these things go on and we are introducing measures all the time to try and reduce the amount of fraud that occurs.  In the past year, AXA introduced CUE for home insurance and also have a team in place that is dedicated to reducing fraudulent activity. "Ultimately, if consumers get caught out they run the risk of having the whole claim turned down as well as facing problems getting insurance in the future.

"It is not a victimless crime, honest customers end up footing the bill through higher premiums as insurers pass on the additional costs of inflated claims."

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