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Why is insurance fraud growing so fast in France?

Almost 20% of people admit to committing some kind of insurance fraud, a new study finds, with people aged 18-34 more likely to do so than older groups

A concept of home and car insurance with models in the background and a hand lining up coins in the foreground

Almost 20% of people in France said they had already committed some kind of insurance fraud, the new study found Pic: seamind224 / Shutterstock

Insurance fraud is growing fast in France, a study has found, with one in five people admitting to having already committed the offence this year (2022).

Insurance fraud is up nine percentage points this year so far compared to 2021, a new study by pollster YouGov* for insurance comparison website LeLynx has found.

In 2022, almost 20% of insured people say they have already committed some kind of insurance fraud, compared to 11% in 2021.

Of these: 

  • 35% did it to avoid a car insurance penalty

  • 32% did it to avoid their insurance premiums from going up

  • 29% did it in an attempt to receive better compensation for a claim

Others did it to help out a third party. In fact, more than one in three people in France have admitted to using their insurance to cover a relative’s claim.

Younger people are more likely to have done this: 28% of 18-34 year-olds said they had already done this compared to just 7% of people aged 55 and over. 

Similarly, 29% of people in France have already, or said they could, claim on a family member’s insurance policy for their own use.

Young people more likely to commit fraud overall

The study found that people aged 18-34 are more likely to have committed insurance fraud compared to 15% of those aged 55 and over.

“[Under-35s] are less concerned with the benefit/risk ratio, and nearly a third even say that they would do it again if the opportunity arose,” the study said.

Itzal Arbide, CEO of LeLynx.fr, said: "Unlike young policyholders, for whom the premium risks exploding in the event of a claim, senior citizens are less sensitive to the idea of paying more, and therefore declare more claims. 

“Young drivers, for example, are already paying a high price with car insurance at around €971 per year, i.e. 33% more expensive than the general average. The bill could be even higher if a claim is added.”

Men are more likely to act fraudulently than women; of the people in France who said they had committed fraud, 58% were men and 42% women.

Consequences of fraud

Insurance fraud can have costly consequences for policyholders.

The study said: “Failing to report a claim, passing the responsibility on to another person or submitting false invoices are all considered as insurance fraud. The penalties range from not paying for the claim to reimbursing all claims paid by the insurer over the past two years.”

Repeat insurance claim fraud offences are even classed as criminal and can be punished by up to five years in prison, and a fine of up to €375,000.

Despite fraud appearing to be on the increase, 80% of people in France said that they were satisfied with their insurance. 

The comparison website said that people in France pay on average €641 per year to insure their car, and €153 to insure their home.

*The study was undertaken online by YouGov in May 2022, on a representative sample of 1,008 respondents aged 18 and over.

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