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Clamping down on ghost brokers

As someone who specialises in tackling insurance fraud, I know that these types of criminals are always developing new ways to target drivers, especially those who are vulnerable to higher premiums or are not familiar with the UK’s insurance environment. However by working with the police and industry bodies, insurers such as NFU Mutual are fighting back.

October 2013, saw the arrest of twenty-seven people following an investigation by detectives tackling the sale of fake car insurance policies, a practice commonly known as ‘ghost broking’.

The arrests were carried out in the Leicestershire, London, Manchester, Thames Valley and West Midlands regions. This positive action was a result of an operation led by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Department (IFED). The specialist unit is dedicated to tackling insurance fraud and funded by ABI members such as NFU Mutual.

I find it really encouraging that by taking a collaborative approach, we’ve had such a significant impact on this type of criminal activity. The arrests send out a serious warning to individuals intent on pursuing this fraudulent business and I’m sure you will join me in welcoming these developments.

What is ghost broking?

It is featuring more and more in the press, but what exactly is ghost broking?

Ghost broking has become a multi-million pound scam operated by fraudsters known as ‘ghost brokers’. The conmen often target members of the public who face higher insurance premiums because of their age or income. Unsurprisingly, young drivers are regularly targeted; meaning our sons and daughters are often the innocent victims of this crime. However do remember that anyone could be offered a phantom policy.

Whilst some policies are completely fictitious, the fraudsters can also apply to genuine insurance companies for cover on your behalf but change personal details such as age and occupation in order to obtain a cheaper premium. Some drivers may be completely unaware that they have dealt with a ghost broker.

Taking action now

I understand the risks that our members face. That is why we’ve made it a priority to work closely with IFED and other industry bodies, in order that we may confidently provide the necessary level of protection needed to ensure we are not targeted by these criminals in the future. For our organisation it’s not just about ghost broking, but focusing our efforts on the prevention of application fraud as a whole.

But there are three measures you can take now to avoid ghost brokers:

Only deal with established and reputable insurers who are known for quality cover Be careful when buying online - research the website if it’s a name you don’t recognise Always stop and think – if a bargain premium seems to good to be true, it probably is  Cases of ghost broking remind us that choosing a reputable insurance company is of the utmost importance. If you’re a member of NFU Mutual, you can always have a reassuring chat with your local agent who can explain the cover you have.

Find out more about the work of the IFED and how they protect you.