Quake insurance fraud tops $1b
Wed, 19 Sep 2012 6:30p.m.
By Tony Field
The Insurance Council is warning fraud from the Christchurch rebuild could ultimately total more than $1 billion.
That includes one investigation alone that the Serious Fraud Office says could involve as much as $250 million.
Investigators today received advice from a visiting anti-fraud specialist. The Japanese earthquake, Hurricane Katrina and the Boxing Day tsunami are among the disasters investigated by anti-fraud specialist Peter Dent.
He told TV3's Firstline that after any natural disaster some people will try to cash in.
“In a natural disaster there is so much money being provided in such a short period of time.”
After Hurricane Katrina the fraud can range from exaggerated insurance claims, to collusion between contractors to identity theft.
“There were also claims from people from outside the disaster area,” Mr Dent says. “A very small minority of people were extremely prolific in terms of the number of claims they were capable of making over a short period of time.”
The Insurance Council says it's happening here too, with a growing number of cases in Christchurch.
“Fraud investigations that are going on range from several thousand dollars right through, and there could be $100 million to $200 million frauds,” Insurance Council spokesman Terry Jordan says.
The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it's investigating one case in Canterbury where the alleged offending could range between $40 and $250 million.
“It's possible the fraud over the whole of the rebuild could top over the billion-dollar mark,” Mr Jordon says. “With over $30 billion being ploughed into Christchurch this could even be on the light side.”
The Insurance Council says it's important to remember that the fraud involves a very small minority of claims, less than 10 percent, but those involved are ripping off everyone else - and driving premiums higher.
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27/02/2013 6:05:17 p.m.
William Maloney wrote:
Insurers have vivid imaginations when it comes to suggesting fraud. They are now the perpetrators of a terrible serious crime against the people of Christchurch. The spin doctors can continue to deflect all they like, but the bottom line with insurers is they are deliberately withholding their obligations to settle claims ...it's a no brainier ...having to wait 2/1/2 years
9/11/2012 11:08:35 p.m.
what about those repairing homes, Im in one that was estimated at 80K repair but the work looks more like 5 - 10 K , Who investigates these cases I wonder because I would like to lay a complaint ...The insurers also seem to want to underwrite work previously written off by EQC so the catch is 22 ...its the people who are legless
23/09/2012 5:39:47 p.m.
Sarah Miles wrote:
Too bad there's so much emphasis on fraud against insurance companies- it seems to me much of what the insurers are perpetrating against the people of Christchurch amounts to fraud- low ball offers, delay tactics, refusal to pay storage and accomodation costs, more delays, changes in the degree of damage allowable, claims of pre existing damage and the list goes on. Playing with people's lives is 'fraudulent'!!
20/09/2012 2:21:47 p.m.
Games and politics. Mass money thrown in to make something happen to be seen to be acting on everyone's behalf. Large business frothing at the mouth to get a piece of the pie, of course there is corruption and fraud this is the world we have created. disasters and war always create wealth for the few. As soon as the dust settles the vultures start circling
20/09/2012 12:35:24 p.m.
You only had to watch the TM messageboard to spot many of those making multiple claims for the same stuff.
20/09/2012 11:43:41 a.m.
Sorry, I should have said: "Hawkins I think, (but certainly not Fletchers").
20/09/2012 10:22:53 a.m.
@ Roger. Fletchers are the reconstruction partner of the EQC, IAG reconstruction partner is Hawkins (but certainly not Fletchers).
20/09/2012 7:28:29 a.m.
Disgusting. Totally disgusting. And you know what? After the entire country's network of charities that give to people in need emptied their coffers and others in the country suffered as a result, to read this just breaks my heart. Perhaps in a country the size of the USA, 1Bil is a drop, but here in NZ? 1Bil is significant and is crippling. Anyone caught committing fraud, esp in CHCH as a result of the Quake and rebuild should be thrown in prison for a term reflecting the size of their crime. $1000, Community service, $100000 - $1mil 3mths to 1yr prison, over $1mil, 2yrs min...but 40 - 250MILLION +++?? 10years at a min with the money recovered from any assets held by the FAMILY and by any TRUSTS set up to slither around it. If there is one person in a family, lets say the Fletcher boss, and the scale is on this massive scale, then his whole family would be reaping those benefits, therefore they all need to pay for it (except for kids up to 18). Whilst so many suffer, these mongrels (and I am NOT saying it IS Fletchers, that is just a name for an example of a huge business), lap up the money, money they have no right to. No wonder the cost to rebuild is so damned high. It shouldn't cost that much. There is no need for it to cost that much. BOOOOO to those ripping off the residents of CHCH and the residents of NZ.
20/09/2012 5:57:43 a.m.
Fletchers have significant investment in the fraud, which the NZ government have a large number of shares in. The losers are the NZ tax payers and Christchurch citizens. Absolutely chocking behaviour.
19/09/2012 10:45:35 p.m.
The SFO should be reviewing the connection between the insurance companies and Fletcher Construction. Hugh Fletcher sits on the board of directors for IAG but has only just resigned from his position on the board at Fletcher. He is also sapping perks via his wife, one of the Chief Court Justices whilst we in Christchurch continue to suffer. Its so very wrong.
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