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TRAVEL Insurance companies are clamping down on supporting documentation requirements before paying out claims following a global spike in fraudulent transactions.

In a landmark case last year Deborah Briton and Paul Roberts became the first people to be criminally prosecuted for travel insurance fraud.  Both are currently serving time in jail for allegedly trying to claim nearly £20 000 (R263 000) by lying about getting food poisoning while on three separate Spanish holidays.

Uriah Jansen, md of Oojah Travel Protection, which administers Hollard’s travel insurance, says that the travel insurance community is being targeted internationally by fraudulent syndicates. As a result she says that each itemised supporting document for claims now needed to be scrutinised in order to determine whether it was fraudulent or not.  While this is causing agents and their clients some frustration Uriah said it was unfortunately a necessary precaution.   

For instance delay claims require a letter from the airline confirming both the cause and length of the delay.  Baggage delay and loss claims require a letter from the airline confirming the length of the delay and whether compensation was given and proof of payment for expense reimbursement claims needs to be attached for every item.

According to reports in the British papers, travel agents in the UK have seen a 400% rise in insurance claims in the past year alone. Uriah confirmed that locally Hollard Insurance had also seen an increase in fraudulent claims and advised that the South African travel insurance market tended to follow UK trends and legislation.

According to Uriah the most frequent fraudulent claims that it receives include medical claims for food poisoning at hotels and claims for doctor or hospital visits where the medical institution in question either does not exist or has no record of the patient’s visit.

Noel Joseph, claims manager for TIC said fraudulent insurance claims were an ongoing issue for TIC locally but had not noticed a marked increase in these this year.  He advised that inflated baggage claims were their most frequently identified, ongoing source of fraud locally and that TIC’s claims department remained vigilant to fraudulent activity on a daily basis.

 


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