Monday, November 14, 2011

Owners killing their pets to get insurance payouts

Pet insurance fraud has almost quadrupled in the space of a year, with some owners even killing their animals to get payouts. First it was spurious claims for whiplash and other injuries, then it was "crash for cash". Now a new type of fraud is affecting the insurance industry - pet scams. Dishonest claims on animal policies almost quadrupled last year, making it the fasting growing area of insurance crime. Figures from the Association of British Insurers show there was £1,929,900 worth of pet insurance fraud detected last year – up from just £420,000 in 2009.

However, the true scale, is thought to be far higher and pushing up the average £220 premium. A total of 2.3 million cats and dogs were insured last year and virtually every type of animal can be covered. The Association of British Insurers is arranging a shared database of information about insured animals to detect fraud. Insurers believe frauds include owners getting rid of the animal - by selling it or even killing it - then claiming a payout for early death. The animal may never have existed in the first place.

Other owners have injured their pets in "faked accidents" to cover up pre-existing injuries or conditions that were not covered by their policy. Another scam involves staging the disappearance of an animal, because some policies pay out if a pet is lost or stolen. Other tactics detected include claims for expensive vet treatments that have either not actually been given, or are unnecessary or are more expensive than they need to be. Experts suspect that some vets are involved.

In some cases, claims are made for uninsured pets on the policies of other insured animals. One unnamed major insurer has revealed that between 2008 and last year, the number of animal-related claims where deception was suspected or proven increased by 440 per cent. One reason the pet policies are proving susceptible to fraud is because veterinary records for animals can be difficult to trace. Carys Clarke, a solicitor who works as an insurance fraud investigator for law firm Berrymans Lace Mawer, said: "I am aware of cases were owners have maimed their animals in order to make claims on their policies."


Barbwire said...

Just goes to show you that some people are truly despicable.

SteveC said...

It's not the same but I bought a small horse off a man about 5 months ago. He didn't want them anymore and sold them very cheap. I know a man who bought one off the same man about the same time. I went by to see how the horse was doing and he had sold it to the slaughter house.
In prosperous times animals can get a good life but if times get bad, it often ends badly for them.