UK trade body The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has reportedly painted a picture of consumers as the victims of insurance fraud and has called for stronger state action.

In a move reported by the Times newspaper, the ABI has contested that insurance fraud is costing UK consumers GBP1.5 billion a year, or 5% on top of each insurance policy, because the fraudulent payouts are forcing the industry to increase prices.

The ABI’s stark declaration was made to a UK government inquiry conducting a ‘fraud review’. In making its statement the insurance association appeared to be keen to point out that insurance fraud was not victimless nor did it only affect big insurers with deep pockets.

The Times quoted Nick Starling, the ABI’s director of general insurance, as saying: Insurance fraud is seen as socially acceptable. It’s prevalent right across the spectrum. There are people whose job description is fraud, who are professionals, to those that are committing business fraud and those who are taking advantage of an opportunity to claim for more when they have a legitimate claim.