Life insurance fraud refers to illegal acts committed by those buying or selling life insurance policies. In-vestopedia defines five different types of buyer life insurance fraud, from accidental suicides to falsifying medical records. Find out more and learn about two of the more famous cases of life insurance fraud.
Types of life insurance buyer fraud
Post-dated life insurance: a policy that is purchased after the death of the insured person but appears to have been issued before their death.
False medical history:Withholding information about existing medical conditions, whether or not you smoke etc constitutes one of the most common types of fraud. Coming clean with your provider might mean that your premiums are more expensive but this cannot outweigh the risk of reduced or rejected claims. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous doctors to falsify medical records on behalf of buyers.
Murder for proceeds: In this instance the insured person (spouse, business partner etc) is murdered for their life insurance cover or a policy is taken out in somebodys name without their knowledge and they are subsequently murdered for the life cover payout.
Lack of insurable interest: Insurable interest stipulates that in order to buy a life insurance policy in somebodys name you have to be able to prove that that persons death would cause you financial distress.
Suicidal accidents: This occurs when a person commits suicide but tries to make it look like an accident in order to ensure that their family can claim their life insurance cover.
Faking death or disability:It is not unheard of for someone to fake either death or disability to claim insur-ance payouts for themselves or their families. People have also created fake identities which have been killed or died with the family claiming life insurance payouts.
Famous cases of life insurance fraud
John Darwin, a British teacher and prison officer died in a canoeing accident in 2002 but was discovered alive and well and arrested five years later. His wife, who had claimed his life insurance payout, said he had been secretly living in their house and the house next door. Both were sentenced to over six years in prison.
In 2008 Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt were convicted of the murders of two homeless men, Paul Vados in 1999 and Kenneth McDavid in 2005. Both murders were staged as hit and run accidents. Multimillion dollar life insurance policies had been taken out on the men by Golay and Rutterschmidt.