On the 18th July, 2018, a former insurance claims handler has been sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months at Manchester Crown Court for insurance fraud.
27-year-old Jack Burton, from Stretford, Manchester, worked for the insurance giant Axa during 2015 and 2016 on their claims desk. He allegedly falsified 10 genuine car insurance claims, adding fictitious car hire charges to each of them. The money for these fraudulent charges were paid into his own bank account. In all, he is said to have stolen nearly £8000 in total.
His employers became suspicious. The City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Investigation Department were brought in and thanks to extensive cooperation between insurers a number of other offences came to light. It transpired that, using his knowledge of the insurance industry, he had made claims against Axa itself, The Direct Line Group and RSA Insurance. One claim was against Allianz; Burton obtained a policy under a false name and claimed just over £1000 for tools which, he alleged, had been stolen from a parked car. Another claim was against RSA and related to what appears to have been a genuine burglary; however only a few CDs had apparently been stolen, whilst Burton claimed for a laptop, a digital camera and £260 in cash.
He is said to have submitted photographs of the items he alleged were stolen, together with falsified invoices.
At an interview with the police he admitted to a total of nine fraudulent claims. Out of these nine claims he was actually paid out on three of them, obtaining a total of just over £3000.
For one of these claims he had to telephone his previous employers, Axa. Since he had worked alongside the claims handling staff he was rather worried that they may recognise his voice; so he adopted a fake Birmingham accent! However he adopted a belligerent attitude which not only distressed the staff there, but raised furthur suspicions about him.
He claimed that he had no choice but to commit these frauds in order to pay back debts; however a check on his bank accounts showed that he had spent the money on travel and electrical items.
Burton subsequently admitted all the offences. Whilst the amount that he had benefited from was fairly small, he had still abused the trust of his employers. He will have come out of this whole experience in a very worse off condition; he will not only have a prison sentence to face but will probably find it very difficult to obtain employment in the insurance industry, in which trust is essential, again. He had not only been dishonest but had done a great disservice to the vast majority of claims handlers, who carry out their work in a conscientious and diligent manner.
It is, however, hard to see how he could ever have expected to have got away with his fraudulent activities. The insurance industry is highly experienced at detecting fraud and the major companies all cooperate together to combat it; as a former employee of a major group Jack Burton really should have realised that he would be caught, sooner or later!