Agria Pet Insurance has once again contributed to a BBC documentary examining cases of pet insurance fraud.
‘Claimed and Shamed’ focuses on fraud within the insurance industry. Having invited Agria to participate in both series two and three, it again called on the pet insurance company for involvement in series four, due to be shown on BBC1 in the next few months.
Recently aired series three covered six cases of pet insurance fraud handled by Agria. The cases involved four policyholders found guilty of committing fraud relating to loss, death and veterinary fees for illness.
The documentary highlights how highly trained claims staff are essential in detecting fraudulent claims. Agria, one of the leading global pet insurers, focuses on providing all claims handlers with the right tools to assist them in identifying indicators of fraud, helping to eliminate it and protect policyholders’ premiums from rising.
Staff receive training both in-house and from an external firm of solicitors specialising in fraud. They learn cognitive interviewing techniques, timeline examination skills and how to identify discrepancies between documentation received and the circumstances of a claim. Social media is also an increasingly useful tool staff are trained to analyse in the investigation of potentially fraudulent claims.
Wendy Roberts, Claims Manager at Agria Pet Insurance says, “Training is essential in identifying and dealing with fraud. This, however, must go hand-in-hand with close relationships with vets, something a recent claim we dealt with clearly demonstrated.”
The claim was for a dog that had been swept off a cliff in the south west of England. Agria settled the claim in good faith as the paperwork appeared in order, including a practice stamp and signature of a practice vet.
A few weeks later however, the vet called Agria to say she had been away at the time of the claim and didn’t recall the incident. She confirmed it wasn’t her signature on the claim form, which enabled Agria to make a full recovery of costs. Furthermore, four months later, the practice reported back to Agria that the dog’s veterinary records had been requested by another practice, proving beyond doubt that the incident had never happened.
When appropriate, Agria refers fraudulent claims to the Royal Veterinary College and IFED: the Police Insurance Fraud department, and regularly contributes to a fraud round table run by a major law firm.
Simon Wheeler, Managing Director of Agria Pet Insurance comments, “Sadly, whatever the type of insurance, there is always scope to abuse the system and always people prepared to try.
Fraudulent claims increase premiums for everyone, but identifying fraud takes effort and relies on experienced, knowledgeable staff focused on what they are looking for. Agria is lucky; we have the people with the right skills.”
He concludes, “We are committed to rooting out fraudsters for the sake of the vast majority of our honest policyholders and their premiums.”
Notes for editors:
Agria is one of the world’s leading animal insurers, specialising in small animal, equine and agricultural insurance. Founded in Sweden over 120 years ago, Agria came to the UK in 2009 and is now a prominent player in the UK pet insurance sector. Agria UK works with vets, breeders and affiliates providing insurance for cats and dogs. Agria also administrates pet insurance schemes for the leading small animal registration bodies, The Kennel Club and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). For more information see www.agriapet.co.uk / www.kcinsurance.co.uk / www.gccfinsurance.co.uk
Image: Simon Wheeler, Managing Director of Agria Pet Insurance being interviewed by the BBC for the series Claimed and Shamed.