Men are more likely than woman to try to cheat their insurer – ironically , they also have the least faith in their insurer doing the right thing.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) found that:
By comparison, 17% of women felt it was ok to inflate a claim, while 9% thought it was ok to claim for pre-existing damage.
SCTI CEO Craig Morrison said most people don’t think that this form of dishonesty is fraud.
“We regularly see claims that have been inflated. It’s something we have trained experts watch out for. People don’t realise that getting caught out could result in a void policy or even a criminal record – with serious implications for getting any future insurance coverage.
“The worst thing about this type of behaviour is that, you know when you’re being honest but, unless we have the documentation to back up your story, how do we? As a result, we are forced to look at all claims more carefully and in doing so ask a lot of questions.”
The flow-on effect to having this level of scrutiny applied to claims is reflected in how customers feel about the claiming experience.
The survey found that 42% of men thought travel insurance companies either ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’ looked for excuses not to pay valid claims, compared to 31% of women.
Morrison said, “Although it’s great to find that the vast majority of people would be honest at claim time, it’s disappointing that so many lacked faith in travel insurers.
“Firstly, for an insurer to attempt to avoid paying a valid claim is ethically wrong, but secondly it breaches the legal contract the insurer has made with their customer. Customers should be assured that if the claim fits within the terms of the policy the insurer must pay out - there’s no question about it.”
“Secondly, the key obligation on the part of the insured is evidence. Without appropriate evidence of your loss we will struggle to be able to pay out your claim. When it comes to providing proof of a mishap, don’t delay.” Morrison says, “If your credit cards are stolen, cancel them - then there is a reported record of the incident. Do your best to get a paper trail. If your bus company cancels and you need to pay for another night’s accommodation, or miss a connecting flight, try to get a cancellation email or even a text to show us.
He said the core purpose of the survey was to find out if people really understood the claiming process. “It was a revelation to us that 55% of those surveyed thought it was ok to claim the replacement cost, rather than the current value of a lost or damaged item. So if you thought you were going to get a brand new laptop, rather than the current value of your five-year-old one, it’s natural you’re going to be disappointed in your policy.”
Morrison says the key principle underlying all travel insurance policies is “could this event or situation reasonably be considered unexpected? Travel insurance is there to cover the unexpected. If you leave your iPhone unattended on the beach while you take a swim, well it’s not unexpected that it could be stolen.”
“We strongly urge people to have a really good read of their policy before they purchase. If they have any questions, we ask them to get in touch.
Morrison says, key points to remember are never leave your personal belongings unattended, even for a moment, and, of course, ‘nothing good happens after midnight’.”
The survey involved 1000 Kiwi travellers and was conducted by TNS in February 2014.