Accenture Survey Targets Industry Fraud

May 25, 2004

The majority of Americans say insurance fraud occurs because people believe they can get away with it, according to results of a survey released today by Accenture.

The survey, based on a random sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, is Accenture’s second annual survey examining consumer attitudes toward insurance fraud; results of the first survey were released in February 2003.

In this year’s survey, 56 percent of respondents said they believe insurance fraud occurs because people believe they can get away with it, up from 49 percent in last year’s survey. Nearly one-third (32 percent) said they believe that people who commit insurance fraud do so because they believe they pay too much for insurance, and 24 percent said people commit insurance fraud to make up for their deductibles.

In addition, nearly one-half (45 percent) of the respondents who knew someone who submitted a claim for an amount higher than their actual loss said that a third party, such as a doctor, auto body shop or insurance appraiser, was involved in the insurance fraud.

“The findings of this year’s survey indicate that the insurance industry is still increasingly vulnerable to fraud,” said Michael Lucarini, a partner in Accenture’s Insurance practice. “Insurance companies need to better equip themselves with integrated tools and technologies that help prevent and combat fraud. Leading insurers are implementing Web-based technology that can help re-evaluate claims for fraud detection throughout the claim and alert the appropriate people when thresholds are exceeded or certain parties are involved.”

Among the survey’s other findings:

* About one-half (49 percent) of respondents said they believe that people are discouraged from committing fraud as a result of the increase in conviction rates, severe punishments and media coverage of high-profile corporate scandals.
* Almost all of the respondents (95 percent) said it is important for insurance companies to investigate potentially fraudulent claims; the primary reason given was to control premium expenses, selected by 63 percent of respondents.
* More than one-half (56 percent) of respondents agree that as the economy picks up people are less likely to commit insurance fraud than they would during an economic downturn.

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