Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal
Desperate times call for desperate measures. However, a new report from the Association of British Insurers demonstrates how some U.K. citizens are going too far. With a recent spike in false insurance claims, individuals are being suspected of actually killing their pets in order to receive an early cash payout.
Mirroring the “cash for crash” claims made on cars that are intentionally damaged in order to receive insurance payout, individuals are actually desperate enough to injure or kill their pet and disguise the act as an accident in exchange for some extra cash.
Figures show there was £1,929,900 (approximately $3 million) worth of pet insurance fraud detected in the U.K. last year—a huge jump from just £420,000 (approximately $670,000) in 2009. Not to mention, suspected or proven fraudulent claims have nearly quadrupled in the past year, with an additional 440 percent increase in claims between 2008 and 2010.
Insurance experts claim this form of fraudulent activity is now the fastest growing in the industry.
A related scam involves making claims for vet treatments that either have not been carried out, were processed at up to double the expected cost, or shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. Healthy pets have even been deliberately put to sleep in order to claim an early death payout.
Veterinarians are being called upon to help prevent pet insurance fraud as they are suspected to be directly involved in this disturbing trend—sometimes charging twice as much for prescription medicine and exaggerating claims for service costs.
Additionally, pets have been falsely reported missing or mysteriously disappear in order to receive a payout for a lost or stolen pet, while more and more individuals are filing claims for nonexistent pets.
The Association of British Insurers is currently building a database in order to keep close watch on pet insurance fraud—a difficult task since pet medical records are much more difficult to trace than human records.