New research from insurance technology provider SSP has found that 29% of consumers mistakenly believe that they are not responsible for checking the accuracy of their own motor insurance applications and more than 1 in 10 people (14%) don’t realise that inaccuracies in their personal details could invalidate their policy.
22% of people think their insurer is responsible for checking the accuracy of their motor insurance application, with a further 7% believing responsibility lies with another third party such as their broker.
This suggests that many consumers are unwittingly putting themselves at risk of committing insurance fraud or incurring unexpected costs on claims if information they have submitted is found to be inaccurate. Young drivers are particularly prone to this mistake with 30% of drivers between the ages of 18-24 and a third between 25-34 thinking data validation is the responsibility of their insurer. The research also shows that this lack of awareness is having a serious impact at the claims stage with younger consumers twice as likely to say they have had a claim turned down as a result of inaccuracies in their application.
Lack of awareness is consistent whether consumers go through brokers, price comparison websites or direct to their insurer. 25% of consumers who go direct to their insurer say they expect someone else to check the accuracy of their application, compared to 28% and 29% for PCWs and brokers respectively.
Several survey respondents highlighted the role they think insurers should play in raising awareness of the importance of accuracy when applying for insurance, with one commenting that “The public need to know what insurers mean by inaccuracies!”, whilst another said that a policy being invalidated by inaccuracies in details is “Not totally fair…the insurance company should go through it all with the customer to check at the start”.
However, there are a significant minority of people (15%) who believe the risk of lying on their insurance applications are worth taking in order to bring down the overall cost of their insurance. According to data mined through SSP’s Intelligent Quote’s Hub, each error on an application form (either intentional or accidental) cuts the annual premium paid by around 46% and could be costing insurers over a billion pounds a year As the industry prepares more sophisticated tools to deal with the rising problem of fraud, more customers who are being economical with the truth are about to face the consequences.
Adrian Coupland, Head of Data Strategy for SSP said:
“Insurers simply cannot take the accuracy of their data for granted. Across all the channels we tested, at least a quarter of consumers thought their insurer, broker or other intermediary were responsible for the accuracy of their application.
“On the contrary, unless they have the appropriate systems in place, insurers are rarely able to apply more than a credit check until claims stage, missing other important factors like vehicle usage, main driver, overnight vehicle location and occupation - leaving them out of pocket when it comes to premiums.
“It’s important the industry as a whole does more to verify risks and root out potential fraud, ideally at sale and pre-inception, but it is also important to support consumers by helping them ensure the information they submit is as accurate as possible.”
Over half of consumers believe that falsifying personal details to get a cheaper deal on car insurance is fair game, according to new research from insurance technology provider SSP.
Whilst only 16% of people admit to altering their personal details and a much smaller proportion (10%) admit to having held a motor insurance policy with inaccurate details, over 55% feel that it is acceptable to change their personal details across multiple applications to find the lowest price.
SSP, who process 3.5 million motor insurance quotes a day, has identified that around 35% of converted policies contain at least one application fraud indicator. This not only contributes to losses in premiums for the insurance industry but on average adds an additional £50 to the cost of each policy, as customers providing accurate information pick up the bill for others through increased premiums. 
The most common details consumers are likely to experiment with relate to where a vehicle is usually kept overnight (27%), the precise occupation of the main driver (25 %) and underestimating the current value or mileage of the car (23% and 19% respectively). These factors can all impact on the risk profile of an individual customer and affect the amount quoted by an insurer.
According to SSP’s research, millennials (under the age of 35) are three times more likely than baby boomers (over the age of 55) to have a motor insurance policy where some of their personal details were inaccurate - whether deliberately or by mistake. Millennials are, however, also seven times more likely than baby boomers to say they are aware of the risks of fibbing about their personal details on a motor insurance application but consider the risks worth taking (28%).
Who is most likely to own up to insurance fraud?
- Aged 18-24 or have been driving between 4-6 years
- Living in Birmingham, Liverpool or Leeds
- Working in PR, advertising or construction and use their car for work
- Bought their insurance from a price comparison website
*Based on respondents who answered yes to the question: “Have you ever experimented with changing your personal details on different application forms when applying for motor insurance to try to get a cheaper deal?”
Given the limitations some insurers have in verifying the complex data provided by consumers, and their inability to identify inaccuracies before the policy is taken out, errors may only be picked up in the event of a claim. As a result, insurers are increasingly investing in more sophisticated tools to identify and stop potential fraud in its tracks and also provide consumers with better support and guidance when filling in their applications.
SSP Verify is a new solution, which uses a real-time, fast and flexible pricing and data platform – Intelligent Quotes Hub (IQH) to allow insurers to check a much broader range of data sources, beyond the traditional credit check. Operating in real time, SSP Verify enables insurers to identify fraud at the point of inception, minimising the risk of taking on unwanted business.
Adrian Coupland, Head of Data Strategy for SSP said:
“It’s a dangerous myth that tweaking the details on your motor insurance is an easy way trim down bills.
“Consumers who play with their personal data are at risk of serious financial and legal consequences when making a claim.
“The technology finally exists to verify the details of each and every motor insurance application at the before purchase If insurers embrace it, this type of fraud could become a thing of the past.”
 ABI, 2012
On Wednesday 7 January, a team of SSP employees delivered an employability skills workshop at the firm’s Solihull office, to help disadvantaged young people from The Prince’s Trust take their critical first steps towards finding a job.
Drawing on their own real-life experiences of employment, the volunteers provided guidance on what makes a great CV and how to make the best impression at interview, before supporting the young people in writing their own CV and carrying out mock interviews to increase their confidence.
In the last year, 17 SSP employees have undertaken such one-day volunteering courses in Halifax and Solihull, which are delivered as part of The Prince’s Trust 12-week personal development Team Programme. The workshops complement the other elements of the programme, such as work experience and community projects, helping young people gain the skills and confidence they need to find work, realise their potential and get their lives back on track.
These CV and interview skills workshops are just one of the ways in which SSP supports The Prince’s Trust. The company also provides its offices free of charge for Enterprise workshops, which enable young people to explore a business idea or the option of self-employment, and has taken part in a range of international sponsored challenges.
SSP became patrons of The Prince’s Trust Insurance Leadership Group in 2006. Since then, the company has donated £392,000 to the youth charity, including a donation of £25,000 during the 2014-15 financial year and given 392 young people the support they need to overcome barriers and fulfil their potential.
Vanessa Morris, The Prince’s Trust Team Leader for the Solihull workshop, said: “Preparing a CV and going to an interview can be a daunting experience for many people, and especially so for the young people we work with.
“These workshops encourage our young people to think about their own values and interests, while enabling them to understand the skills required for the world of work. We are incredibly grateful for all the support provided by SSP in helping us change young people’s lives forever.”
Clare Bates, HR and Transformation Director at SSP, said: “SSP is a company where people matter, right from the investment in our employees through to making an active contribution to the local communities we operate in globally.
“That’s why the company actively encourages employees to take part in a range of volunteering activities, such as these employability skills workshops, and enables them to take up to two days’ paid leave each year to do so.”