Business

'Slip and trip' accidents cause surge in liability fraud

Lidl supermarket Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption One man falsely claimed to have slipped in a branch of Lidl

The number of insurance liability frauds - including so-called 'slip and trip' accidents - jumped by 75% last year, according to industry figures.

In total there were 19,800 cases of bogus liability claims, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.

Total insurance fraud rose by 9% in the year to December 2014, and was worth £1.32bn.

But one of the fastest-growing crimes was fraudulent claims for injury, supposedly as a result of negligence.

In one case, a man from Bradford tried to claim £10,000 in damages for slipping on a wet bakery bag in a supermarket.

The man - Waheed Iqbal, of Hollings Road - said he hurt his head and body after falling down in one of the aisles.

Videos

But CCTV footage used in evidence by the police helped to prove that he had slipped deliberately.

Iqbal, 37, was given a 10 month suspended prison sentence in December 2014.

In another case, a man called Stephen Robinson claimed to have suffered a broken ankle after supposedly catching his foot in a drain on Tyneside.

Robinson's address was given as Caroline Cottages in Slatyford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

But a You Tube video used by the police caught him showing off to neighbours, and jumping into a river. His broken ankle can clearly be seen as he emerges from the water.

He was convicted of fraud in January this year, and sentenced to 200 hours community service and fined £600.

Cost of premiums

Motor insurance fraud remained the most common crime - accounting for over half the total.

There were 67,000 cases during the year, a 12% rise on 2013.

But the ABI said fraudsters were now more likely than ever before to get caught.

"As well as the possibility of serving a custodial sentence, they will find it difficult to obtain vital financial services such as mortgages and loans, future job prospects are likely to be adversely impacted, and family relationships suffer," said James Dalton, the ABI's director of general insurance policy.

Increased detection of fraud was one reason why premiums fell last year.

The average price of a motor policy went down by 5%, and the average for a home contents policy went down by 3%.

However, the industry has warned that those reductions will be reversed, as a result of the increase in insurance premium tax, announced in last week's Budget.

From April 2016 the tax will rise from 6% to 9.5%.

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