Date of this Version

7-1-2003

Document Type

Miscellaneous Material

Publication Details

Lincoln, R., H. Wells and W. Petherick (2003) An Exploration of Automobile Insurance Fraud. Centre for Applied Psychology and Criminology, Bond University, Gold Coast.

© Centre for Applied Psychology and Criminology 2003

Abstract

This exploratory study analyses claiming behaviour within the automobile insurance industry. A local insurance company provided 32 automobile insurance claims thus permitting qualitative and quantitative analysis. This study enunciates non-fraudulent claiming behaviour as the sample included only a low number of suspected fraud cases. Variables contained within each of the claim files were analysed, as were the statements of the insured individuals. Each claimant is required to provide two written statements to the local insurance company and these statements were analysed for consistency and detail. The overall findings revealed that claimants were generally employed, middle-aged males who were sober at the time of the theft and had good driving records. A majority of the stolen vehicles were located, and one-third of these vehicles were damaged beyond repair. Most vehicles stolen were either Holden or Ford models and were low-value. Vehicles were more likely to be stolen from shopping centre car parks than from the insureds’ residences. A statement typology consisting of four categories – adequate, garrulous, reticent and phlegmatic – was proposed. A majority of the statements were categorised as adequate where sufficient detail regarding times and witnesses were provided. Several statements were considered phlegmatic and lacked sufficient detail. Over three-quarters of the insureds’ written statements were consistent with one another. Given the exploratory nature of this study, no strong inferences should be made. Rather this study serves as a catalyst for further research into Australia’s insurance industry. Specifically, future research should explore fraudulent automobile insurance claims thus providing greater insight into fraudulent claiming behaviour, with the potential to likewise explore compliant behaviour by those insured.

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