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Insurers pay out 30 million euros over fraudulent insurance claims in 2017

Bogus personal injury insurance claims accounted for the majority of unwarranted settlements.

Insurance claims investigators uncovered some 30 million euros in shady accident insurance claims paid out in 2017, according to the financial sector lobby group Finance Finland.

Some of the questionable claims were outright fraudulent, while in other cases compensation was reduced or not paid out at all.

Due to the pooled risk principle of insurance coverage, honest customers are the ones who end up footing the bill for persons who dishonestly try to cash in on insurance policies.

According to Finance Finland, insurance fraud covers a broad spectrum of activities. Scammers may stage damage, purposefully sustain injuries or even exaggerate them.

Recent analysis found that suspicious damage claims from 2017 had an estimated value of 84 million euros, some 30 million euros or roughly 30 – 40 percent of which were determined to be fraudulent.

Big payouts for trumped-up personal injury claims

The majority of insurance fraud cases perpetrated in 2017 involved alleged damage to vehicles such as cars, motorcycles and boats. In terms of dodgy personal injury claims, the biggest payouts had to do with fabricated compensation claims. In such cases, policyholders claimed they had suffered an injury that rendered them unfit for work, for example.

One striking example of such a scam involved a claimant who had allegedly been incapacitated but nevertheless participated in a "Finland’s Strongest Man" competition.

Cases where policyholders staged the theft of phones and sunglasses or exaggerated the value of stolen luggage accounted for a lower level of unwarranted payouts overall.

Altogether some 35 claims investigators and five assistants work in Finnish insurance companies and cooperate with law enforcement authorities. Last year 115 requests for criminal investigations relating to suspected insurance fraud were filed with police.