The average general insurance fraud detected last year was for £12,000, marking a £600 increase compared with 2019 when it was £11,400, according to industry figures.

A travel insurance cheat who tried to eat the evidence and an “accident-prone” gardener who was caught out weightlifting were among the more unusual frauds uncovered, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.

Overall, there was a fall in the number of insurance frauds detected in 2020, mainly due to fewer motor insurance claims, with the roads being less busy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of detected fraudulent claims fell to 96,000, down 10% on 2019 and the lowest total since 2007.

Their value, at £1.1 billion, also fell compared with the previous year, but at a lower rate of 4%.

Fraud detection rates, when measured against the number of general insurance claims made, increased.

Insurers also detected proportionally more motor insurance fraud than in 2019, despite a fall in the overall number of motor insurance claims.

The number of detected travel insurance frauds dipped, although their value increased.

This led to the highest ever recorded average claims value of £2,358. During the pandemic, travel claims have focused on cancellation and curtailment, the ABI said.

It said examples of insurance cheats who were caught out and received a criminal record included:

  • A coach driver who made fraudulent claims under his employer’s healthcare scheme, including non-existent…

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