A pet insurance company has taken part in BBC television programmes investigating fraudulent claims.
Series three, which was aired recently, covered six cases of pet insurance fraud handled by Agria. The cases involved four policyholders who committed fraud relating to loss, death and veterinary fees for illness.
The programmes highlight how highly-trained claims staff are essential in detecting fraudulent claims. Agria’s staff receive training both in-house and from an external firm of solicitors specialising in fraud.
Agria claims manager Wendy Roberts said: “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 the company to make a full recovery of costs.
Four months later, the practice told Agria the dog’s veterinary records had been requested by another practice, proving beyond doubt the incident had never happened.
When appropriate, Agria refers fraudulent claims to the Royal Veterinary College and police Insurance Fraud Department (IFED), and regularly contributes to a fraud round table run by a major law firm.
Agria managing director Simon Wheeler said: “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.”