Travel Insurance Fraud
SRI LANKA / UNITED KINGDOM – It is apparent the insured took the advantage of the fact that then Sri Lanka had security and social challenges as a result of the prolonged civil war. Thus, he thought the insurers would easily be hoodwinked into accepting the contrived circumstances that he was arrested by the Army, tortured and his baggage containing his personal effects and money forcibly removed from him. Further, he apparently believed the insurers do not have the capacity to conduct meaningful investigations in such far-flung location in Sri Lanka and know the facts. But he was mistaken!
BULGARIA / UNITED KINGDOM - Certainly, the circumstances of the alleged incident did not meet common sense and reasonableness test. Nobody loses his camera two days earlier and goes home. There was no indication that he filed any complaint with the Manager of the restaurant and what he was advised to do. He simply went home and two days later, he went before the Police to file a complaint about the alleged loss!
BANGLADESH / UNITED KINGDOM - Of course, these records would not be presented officially. Thus, deploying intelligence leg-work with contacts in the Ministry, we secured the ‘sanction letter’ which was in Bengali language. The official ‘sanction letter’ states that the policyholder had been approved rest and recreational leave for medical treatment (emphasis ours) from February 1, 2000 to February 15, 2000 instead of December 22, 1999, in the United States along with his wife. The letter was signed by a senior government official and was dated January 25, 2000 (emphasis ours). Please, note that the travel insurance (medical expenses) policy, which he obtained became effective on January 26, 2000!
PAKISTAN / UNITED KINGDOM - The first aspect of failing to meet the common sense test was to call at the Police station with a sworn affidavit. A person who loses such a huge sum and his personal effects does not first go before the court to depose to an affidavit. The psychology of such a person is first, immediately, within a reasonable interval of time, go from the incident scene to the Police and file a complaint about the loss.
AFRICA, ASIA / GLOBAL - According to this claimant, he mistakenly dropped his bag containing the items. The question he did not answer was how many bags he was carrying from his residence to the statute where he went to pray for a few minutes and return to his residence. However, rather than go to the Police and file a complaint, he waited until 24 hours later. On January 30, 2015, he went before the court to depose to an affidavit of ownership of the bag and the purported contents. Thereafter, he presented the affidavit to the Police for them to issue him their report.
EGYPT / UNITED KINGDOM - On Saturday, October 31, 2015, the world awoke to the news that a Russian Airbus jetliner conveying persons returning to St. Petersburg, Russia, from Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, broke apart over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula killing 224 people on board. The uninformed wondered how that number of persons were traveling from Egypt back to Russia. But for us, we have known that the city (Sharm-el-Sheikh) is a major tourist hotspot for holiday makers and tourists who throng the place.
CHINA / UNITED KINGDOM - The trend these days is for the policyholder to procure police report from usually compromised police officers so they would have supporting documentary evidence to present to their insurer on return home overseas. We have noted that even in some countries where English is one of the official languages, the policyholders crave for a police report in non-English languages.
GLOBAL - Travel insurance fraud continues to spiral for travel insurers in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Gone are the days when Louis Vuitton bags and accessories used to be the prominent features in most fraudulent baggage and personal effects claims. These days, the items that constantly feature are Apple iPad, Samsung S4 and S5 cell phones, and Ray Ban glasses.
SYRIA / UNITED KINGDOM - This policyholder traveled from the United Kingdom on holiday to see his family in Syria. On his return to the United Kingdom, he filed claims for payment of benefits under his travel insurance (personal liability and medical expenses) policy. He alleged that he sustained injuries while playing a game of soccer in Damascus, Syria. He asserted that he went for the ball but instead kicked one of the players in the head.