Story by Tichaona Kurewa
THE Zimbabwe Insurance Crimes Bureau (ZICB) says it recorded a surge in insurance fraud last year, with more than 20 cases being recorded, some of which are already before the courts.
According to the bureau, criminals are also coming from across borders, hence new forms of crimes are being witnessed.
Fraudulent claims emanating from stage-managed car accidents and misrepresentation of facts on insurance claim forms.
“Through the Zimbabwe Insurance Crimes Bureau system and claims assessment processes carried out by insurance companies, 2022 witnessed an increase of suspicious claims under investigations.
“ZICB operations were in its infancy in 2021, hence the subdued activity in terms of investigations of fraudulent claims. However, 21 cases were recorded in 2022. Eleven cases are under investigation and before the courts, with 10 suspects having appeared before the criminal courts,” said Dr Proctor Nyemba, a white-collar criminologist.
He said there is a need to expedite court cases for those implicated in insurance fraud.
“All those facing allegations of insurance fraud need to be arrested and convicted such that the market understands that committing insurance fraud is a crime. Internal control systems between insurance and the client need to be put in place so that if someone buys a fake insurance document, you can easily pick that it is a fake document.
“All insurance companies must have an insurance fraud policy so that they educate the public to know their documents so that criminals won’t take advantage of them,” said Mr Vincent Kambanga, a fraud investigator with the Zimbabwe Insurance Crimes Bureau.
The ZICB has also entered into an agreement with the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure successful prosecution through the effective handling of cases under investigation and before the courts.
Fraudulent claims result in higher loss ratios which force insurance companies to increase their rates leading to higher premiums.
Higher loss ratios reduce industry profitability.