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People Killing, Maiming Their Pets to Collect on Insurance

Pet insurance fraud has become Britain's fastest-growing insurance crime, and has even turned deadly for some dogs and cats. In their owners' quest for insurance...

Maria Goodavage  |  Jan 3rd 2012


Pet insurance fraud has become Britain’s fastest-growing insurance crime, and has even turned deadly for some dogs and cats. In their owners’ quest for insurance payouts, some pets are paying with their lives. In one brutal scam, people kill pets and then file for early death benefits, according to reports.

Some owners stage fake accidents and injure their pets in order to “fix” pre-existing conditions or to bilk the companies out of more money, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Fraudulent pet claims quadrupled to $3 million during the last year, but many suspect the figure is significantly higher. The number of claims where fraud was suspected or proven increased by 440 percent for one insurer between 2008 and now.

Less harmful fraudulent activity includes making claims on animals who don’t exist, and filing for amounts that double or more what was paid to vets. Experts say some unscrupulous vets may even be helping with some scams.

“These are particularly worrying types of fraud because it often requires the help of a vet,” says fraud investigator Carys Clarke.

All this makes those who ding their cars in order to get insurance money (known as a “crash for cash” scheme) look pretty harmless.

Pet insurance is much easier to dupe than human insurance because there are no easy ways to track pets. I’m sure insurers are working on trying to remedy this. And I’m willing to bet that this isn’t solely happening in Britain.

Can you believe some people will go to these extremes to make money? Perhaps if the punishment fit the crime, some perpetrators would be deterred.

I hope the pet insurance industry can come up with better ways to track claims so pets won’t have to continue to pay the price. And speaking of price, I wonder how this sort of thing affects insurance premiums. Have you noticed your bills increasing of late, Dogsters?

Sources: The Telegraph, Time, the Daily Mail