‘treated like a criminal’_ insurance industry’s fraud investigations hurting innocent claimants

A new report from the Financial Rights Legal Centre shows claimants routinely find insurance fraud investigations to be lengthy and intimidating and that their guilt is being prejudged.

During the interview, the investigator hit the stop button and asked seemingly irrelevant and invasive questions about the rape. Dial direct insurance reviews Nina, a single parent, felt harassed.


“Can you remember what the guy looked like? What happened to you during the incident? Why did you decide to keep the baby afterwards?” he interrogated.

A REST spokeswoman confirmed members are expected to be aware of the fine print and inform the fund when they are no longer eligible to be covered.

Nina is among tens of thousands of claimants each year who are suspected of committing fraud and subjected to investigations by insurance companies and third party investigators.

While there is a need to combat fraudulent claims, the Financial Rights Legal Centre said too many innocent policyholders are being “treated like criminals”, routinely feeling bullied, harassed and intimidated.

The insurance industry said 8-9 per cent of claims are fraudulent, costing them $2 billion a year and and lifting premiums for honest policyholders.

In a new report, Financial Rights said a lack of standards has led to investigators using unscrupulous methods to extract information – for example, conducting five hour interviews, demanding to be “friended” on Facebook and urging claimants to sign a blank authority form.

“A lot of consumers withdraw their claims because of the onerous demands placed on them. How to buy cars from insurance companies direct They feel like they’re treated like criminals … Auto direct car insurance contact that investigators have prejudged their guilt with fanciful scenarios in their mind,” said Drew MacRae, policy officer at Financial Rights.

“In the incident involving rape, they asked about previous sexual history, it seems like it was to intimidate that person. 1 call direct car insurance Our concern is a consumer should be able to say, ‘I don’t want to answer that, until you tell me why it’s relevant.”

Financial Rights said there are no guidelines for the use of interpreters, no right to have the interview held in a neutral location, no reminder to seek legal advice and no interview time limits.

It is calling for the creation of best practice standards under the General Insurance Code of Practice and of uniform private investigator licensing regulations with an enforceable code of conduct.

The Financial Ombudsman Service has backed the call for a new standard. Open and direct car insurance ni Its dispute figures show one-third of insurance fraud cases are found to be in the consumer’s favour.

“I am concerned some investigation interviews can take an extraordinary amount of time when the issues in dispute are not complicated. Canadian direct auto insurance People are asked a lot of irrelevant matters and feel intimidated, impacting on the quality of the investigation,” said John Price, lead ombudsman for general insurance at FOS.

Asked about investigators accessing Facebook accounts and extensive telephone records, Mr Price said “they’ve crossed the line when they’re entering into a fishing exercise”.

In a recent training session on fraud, the FOS said a worrying percentage of claimants were of a middle eastern background, raising questions about racial profiling.

“We see a trend of disputes that can arise from people from various ethnic backgrounds … it does raise the question of whether discrimination is occurring,” said Mr Price.

The Insurance Council of Australia said it recognised the investigative process can be “stressful” and it sought to “strike an appropriate balance” between conducting a thorough inquiry and treating the claimant respectfully.

It pointed to case studies in the report where the insurer had disciplined or sacked private investigators who acted out of line. Direct insurance company inc In the case of Nina, the insurer said the rape questions were relevant to the stolen car claim.

“The ICA would support a review of professional standards in the private investigation industry … . Flux direct car insurance contact number The ICA anticipates the Code Governance Committee will consider the Code recommendations in the Financial Rights report,” said its chief executive Rob Whelan.

The ICA said 3.2 per cent of the one million motor and home claims lodged in NSW were investigated in 2014-15. Nevada direct insurance Of these, 3250 claims were ultimately denied or withdrawn.

In its recent CommInsure investigations, Fairfax Media revealed in the second half of 2013 the insurer went on an all-out assault on the privacy of its policyholders by increasing the number of claims under surveillance by a massive 48 per cent to 366 investigations in a six-month period.

A member of the Australian Private Investigators Association with 30 years of experience said investigators were bound by enough laws and codes of conduct and rejected the need for more.

“We’re bound by licensing requirements, insurer’s code of conduct, company’s code of practice. Pay direct auto insurance I can tell you insurers are very rigid with complying with the code. Bank direct insurance It’s pretty strong,” he said.

“We’re not prejudiced, we don’t make determinations. We have to be objective as possible. Insurance direct There’s no value in colouring the matter, because the matter may get tested before the FOS or the courts of law.”

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