By CRAIG THOMAS
The figures from 2014 show that there were more than 212,000 dishonest insurance applications for car insurance, an increase of 18% on the previous year.
Fraudulent applicants frequently ‘forget’ to disclose previous claims or unspent convictions, or provide a false address or postcode in order to claim to live in a lower-risk neighbourhood.
Another reason is a practice called fronting – where parents insure a vehicle in their name when it is mainly driven by a son or daughter.
The ABI also uncovered a number of scams known as ‘ghost broking’, which involve illegal insurance advisors selling fake car insurance policies.
These result in motorists driving around thinking that they’re insured, but in reality they face prosecution for driving without valid insurance, which can also mean having their vehicle seized and crushed.
Ghost brokers often operate using websites, and in pubs, clubs, car parks and university campuses.
Recent examples include a fake insurance adviser who was jailed for two years after making £65,000 selling fake car insurance; a con man who sold worthless car insurance to Manchester students and was jailed for three years; and an ‘adviser’ who sold over 100 fake policies to drivers in west Yorkshire and was jailed for a year.
In addition, one fake broker already serving a jail sentence was recently ordered to repay over £600,000 to 600 drivers he sold fake cover to, or face further time in jail.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), which manages large-scale cases, is currently dealing with 26 cases of ghost broking fraud.
Mark Allen, the ABI’s fraud and financial crime manager, said: “Insurers recognise that innocent mistakes and oversights happen. But anyone lying to get cheaper motor insurance, or tempted by cheap insurance offers without first checking that they are genuine, risks driving illegally.
“The consequences include getting a criminal record and a massive financial headache if found to be at fault for a crash.
“The risks are just not worth it – especially when you can shop around for the right policy at the lowest price.
”Industry initiatives, such as the Insurance Fraud Register, MyLicence that allows insurers to check for any motoring offences, and the work of the Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department in tackling ghost brokers are helping to reduce the scope for insurance application fraud.”
LOS ANGELES _ Shannen Doherty is battling breast cancer that worsened during a lapse in her health insurance caused by her former business managers, the actress claimed in a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The former “Beverly Hills, 90210” star claims that her former business managers and accountants mismanaged her money and allowed her health insurance to lapse last year.
Because of that, she said she didn’t go to the doctor until she had insurance and there was a delay in diagnosing her cancer, which will likely require more drastic treatments, including a possible mastectomy and chemotherapy.
Doherty, 44, received the diagnosis in March and her doctors have said earlier treatment might have stopped its spread, the lawsuit states.
An attorney for the accounting firm Tanner Mainstain Glynn & Johnson denied the company caused Doherty’s health insurance to lapse.
“Tanner Mainstain is saddened to learn that Ms. Doherty is suffering from cancer and wishes her a full recovery,” the company’s attorney, Randall J. Dean, wrote in a statement. “However, the claim that Tanner Mainstain caused her to be uninsured, prevented her from seeking medical care, or somehow contributed to her cancer is patently false. Tanner Mainstain will aggressively defend all of Ms. Doherty’s claims in court.”
Doherty’s husband, photographer Kurt Iswarienko, also is suing the firm and its former partner, Steven D. Blatt, accusing them of mismanaging the couple’s money and leading to other financial troubles, including tax audits and liens.
A phone message for Blatt was not immediately returned.
The lawsuits do not specify how much damages Doherty and Iswarienko are seeking. Doherty has been unable to work since the diagnosis.
“The spread of the cancer has caused (Doherty) severe emotional distress,” the lawsuit states.
“The relationship between a business manager and its client is based on trust, in honesty and competence,” Doherty’s attorney, Devin McRae, wrote in a statement. “That trust was violated here, and we hope that the defendants will correct it in a responsible manner.”
By Bruce Schreiner
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The car-swallowing hole has been fixed but not forgotten at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky. Yellow tape now marks the boundaries of the cavity that became a sensation and put the museum on the map. And instead of a gaping sinkhole driving tourism, now it’s the vintage sports cars crunched by rocks and dirt.
Work ended recently to fill in the pit that consumed eight prized sports cars in early 2014. The repaired exhibit area has become a magnet for visitors, and the dirt-caked remains of the mangled cars are the stars.
Where the 60-foot-long, 45-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep sinkhole once drew gasps from visitors, now it’s the remains of the worst-damaged cars that get astonished looks.
“It’s just horrifying,” said Corvette owner Doug Kidd, of Canton, Ohio. “Nature’s a pretty big thing to deal with. They look like they went through a tornado.”
Seven of the eight cars are back on display in about the same spot where they plunged to fame. Five were too beaten up for repairs. One is fixed, another will return Sept. 3 after being repaired in Michigan and another will be restored by the museum. The eight cars carried a total value believed to exceed $1 million.
The museum’s Facebook followers now exceed 200,000, compared to about 50,000 before the sinkhole opened. On social media, photos showcasing the damaged cars outpace those of the shiny, sleek models on display, said museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli.
“People just really enjoy hearing the story and like seeing the damage,” she said. “I guess it’s the rubberneck effect. These cars definitely appeal to a wider audience.”
In the gift shop, jars of sinkhole dirt and rocks fetch $10 apiece. Nearly 2,400 jars had sold through July.
Wanda Cohen of Roswell, Georgia, had just posted a photo of a wrecked car on her Facebook page.
“It’s like looking at the worst wrecks you’ve ever seen,” she said.
For museum officials, the trick is to keep the site’s popularity from going in reverse now that visitors can’t gawk at the sinkhole. The museum cashed in on the giant chasm with record attendance and revenue in 2014.
Last year, the museum just off the interstate drew 251,258 visitors, easily topping the 150, 462 visitors in 2013. The museum’s prior record attendance was 200,900 in 1999. Through last month, attendance for 2015 was off just 2.5 per cent compared to the first seven months of 2014, the museum said.
“We just want to try to do our best to make sure the decrease is as little as possible,” museum Executive Director Wendell Strode said.
Maintaining that momentum will be challenging, said Jason Swanson, a University of Kentucky assistant professor in hospitality management and tourism. Even if the sinkhole had been left open, the publicity that helped spark the attendance bump would have eventually waned, he said.
“The museum is better off since more people now know of the museum because of the sinkhole’s publicity,” Swanson said. “However, 10 years down the road, 2014 and 2015 will likely be seen as an anomaly.”
The museum is doing its part to keep the sinkhole etched as a curiosity.
A temporary exhibit shows the now-famous security camera footage of the floor’s collapse and cars toppling like toys into the pit. That footage has been viewed about 8.5 million times on YouTube, the museum said. The hole opened up when the museum was closed, and no one was injured.
There’s also video of the damaged Corvettes being pulled from the hole. Also featured are condolence cards to the museum. One card-sender wrote of being “devastated to hear of your loss.”
A new sinkhole-themed exhibit is scheduled to open this fall.
Kidd said he wished at least part of the sinkhole had gone unplugged. It was an option discussed by museum leaders before they opted to fill it in.
“It’s human nature to come and see,” Kidd said.
Terry Jorgensen of Deland, Florida, said it would have been impractical to keep the hole open. Getting to see the crunched cars was more than enough, he said.
“I’m in awe of finally being here and seeing it,” he said.
The repairs began last fall and cost about $5 million, Frassinelli said. Insurance covered everything but the museum’s deductible. Donations picked up the deductible, she said.
Museum officials at first devastated by the chasm now have a much different attitude.
“We decided to embrace it,” Frassinelli said. “And what could have been a really big negative for the museum turned out to be a positive.”
Hub International Limited
(Hub), a leading global insurance brokerage, announced that it has acquired Colorado Nonprofit Insurance Agency (CNIA
), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Colorado Nonprofit Association (Association
). Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. CNIA, a full-service agency offering property and casualty and employee benefits solutions to Association members, will become part of the Hub Colorado operations.
The Association established CNIA in 1996 as a benefit to its membership, providing leading and pre-approved insurance products and services that are most appropriate for Colorado nonprofits. Hub will retain the endorsement of the Association as its insurance broker of choice. Additionally, CNIA maintains an exclusive relationship with its lead carrier, Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance, Risk Retention Group (ANI), a nonprofit organization of The Nonprofit Insurance Alliance Group. Hub will maintain this established, exclusive relationship with ANI in Colorado.
“Hub Colorado has had a long-standing relationship with the leadership of the Colorado Nonprofit Association for many years and we are privileged to now be their broker of record,” noted Matt Coleman, President, Hub Colorado. “We’re excited to bring the Association members additional specialized nonprofit commercial and employee benefit insurance solutions and risk services.”
Sharing in Coleman’s sentiment, Renny Fagan, President & CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, stated, “We believe strongly in Hub’s ability to enhance insurance services provided not only to our members, but the Colorado nonprofit community as a whole. We look forward to working closely with Hub now and in the future to continue addressing the unique insurance needs of nonprofit organizations.”
Robin Medina, CNIA’s CEO, will join Hub Colorado as the Nonprofit Practice Leader. She will report to Jeff Van Gulick, Senior Vice President, Commercial Lines Practice Leader, Hub Colorado. CNIA, currently located in Denver, will relocate to Hub Colorado’s existing Denver office.
About Hub’s M&A Activities
Hub International Limited is committed to growing organically and through acquisitions to expand its geographic footprint and strengthen industry and product expertise. For more information on the Hub M&A experience, visit WeAreHub.com.
About Hub International
Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Hub International Limited is a leading global insurance brokerage that provides property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services through offices located in North America. For more information visit hubinternational.com.
About Colorado Nonprofit Association
Colorado Nonprofit Association leads, serves and strengthens Colorado nonprofit organizations. For 25 years, the statewide nonprofit membership coalition has connected nonprofits of all sizes, missions and geographic locations. The Association leads the nonprofit sector in influencing public policy and public opinion, serves its members by providing tools for networking, communications, and support, and strengthens the nonprofit community through trainings, issue discussions, and administrative programs. For more information, please visitwww.ColoradoNonprofits.org.
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