There is no doubt 2020 will be mostly remembered for all the wrong reasons.

However, one positive that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic is a significant reduction in crime. Unfortunately, though, insurance fraud has been a glaring exception.

The Conversation reported NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures that found, in April 2020, many crime rates declined (relative to the prior five years):

robberies (down 42%)
non-domestic assault (down 39%)
sexual offences (down 32%)
break and enter of dwellings (down 29%)
break and enter of non-dwellings (down 25%)
stealing from motor vehicles (down 34%)
car theft (down 24%).

Queensland had a similar pattern. Comparing crime data for April 2020 to the same month in 2019, there was a 28% decline in unlawful entry of dwellings, a 45% reduction in robberies, and a 7% drop in sexual offences.

JMD Ross’s motor vehicle claim statistics similarly show a decline in claim frequencies because, with so many people working from home, they are driving fewer kilometres. This experience is universally supported by major national insurers, with QBE even offering partial refunds to some private motor clients.

In contrast, a survey by the US-based Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) found 93% of anti-fraud professionals anticipate an increase in insurance fraud in the next year, with more than half the respondents predicting a significant increase.

ACFE’s survey found the threat that has risen most during the pandemic is cyber fraud, which includes business email compromises, hacking, ransomware and malware. You can read the full report here [22.9MBs].

You can access tips to avoid cyber fraud in an earlier JMD Ross newsletter here.

Kevin Walsh, Chubb’s Sydney-based Fraud Investigations Manager, has also identified the increase in cyber fraud during the pandemic. He said: “Insurance fraudsters now have the financial motive, technological knowledge and, just as importantly, the time, to prepare sophisticated insurance fraud claims.”

Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, because the result is higher premiums which affect every insurance buyer.

So be vigilant over the holiday season to avoid getting caught by cyber scammers.

JMD Ross wishes all its valued clients a safe, happy and relaxed festive season. Enjoy fun times with your friends and family.

The JMD Ross office will be closed from noon on Thursday 24 December 2020, reopening on Monday 4 January 2021.

The JMD Ross team is available to you throughout the holiday break.

For claims, please phone 1800 240 123 or email jmdross@jmdross.com.au.

To discuss your risk management and insurance requirements, please contact:

John Davaine    M 0413 610 523  E jdavaine@jmdross.com.au
John G Duncan M 0418 976 772  E jgduncan@jmdross.com.au
Tim Ross           M 0419 251568   E tross@jmdross.com.au

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