Tuesday, 6 February 2024, 15:09
Malaga is the second-placed province in Spain, after Cadiz, with the highest number of fraudulent car insurance claims, new research shows.
A total of 10.8 per cent of claims are found to be fraudulent in Malaga province, when the national average is 8.8 per cent, according to Línea Directa. There were some 110,000 attempted scams detected by the insurance company in just two years, 2021 and 2022.
Their research shows that car insurance fraud is detected almost five times more now than in 2009. Línea Directa director of communication Mar Garre said: "In the last two years, the proportion of insurance fraud has increased significantly, mainly due to the economic situation". The introduction of technology based on artificial intelligence is proving decisive in improving fraud detection, he added.
Profile of the average fraudster
The most typical insurance fraudster is a man under 30 years of age, unemployed or with an unstable job. In recent years, another typical profile has been added: that of a man over 40 years of age who commits insurance fraud to get extra money or to avoid having to pay for repairs.
The most common scam is to try to include in the claim damage unrelated to the accident, being more common in an old car (11 to 14 years old), on the right side of the vehicle and, generally, because they do not have insurance cover to repair the damage declared.
The average cost of car insurance fraud has been falling in recent years to an average of 790 euros, the research shows. In 2017 it peaked at 1,296 euros.
Although individual insurance fraud accounts for the highest incidence, it is organised gangs that are of most concern to insurers: groups of criminals who commit frauds on different companies with the aim of obtaining compensation by declaring false injuries. These groups are often connected to much more serious crimes, are run by two or three ringleaders and typically defraud, on average, more than 8,300 euros per claim.
By provinces, Cadiz recorded the highest incidence of fraud (11.6% of all registered claims), followed by Malaga (10.8%) and Cantabria (10%), all well above the national average (8.8%). At the other extreme are Teruel (3.4%), Soria (3.4%) and Zamora (4.9%).
Home insurance fraud
Home insurance fraud accounted for 2.6 per cent of the claims reported, according to the findings. The average cost per attempted fraud is 556 euros, 19 per cent less than the company's previous study.
Socially tolerated behaviour
Línea Directa surveyed people to get their opinion on insurance company fraud, with the findings revealing that the dodgy practice is socially tolerated. A total of 40 per cent of Spanish drivers justify cheating their insurance company and 16 per cent believe that insurers are partly to blame for the scams "because of their excessively high prices". A total of 63 per cent of motorists who admit to having committed insurance fraud "do not regret at all" having done so.
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