1 EAGLETON NOTES: Honesty, Insurance and Double Standards

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Honesty, Insurance and Double Standards

I was part of a group of people discussing insurance recently.  Insurance companies are not, it seems, particularly popular with many people.  What struck me, though, was the rather illogical approach people sometimes have.

Of these otherwise upstanding members of the community one was proud of how he had saved on his premiums by making false statements to the insurance company.  Another was gloating at how he had managed to get more out of the company on a claim than he was entitled to.

How come, I wonder, was I being made to feel the odd one out in the conversation: either a fool or a prude.

The first person was aware that if he was found out (and in the event of a claim he was bound to be) his insurance policy would be null and void.  He needn't have bothered with insurance in the first place. Oh no, sorry, one has to have car insurance - he'd never have thought of breaking the law.  The second would probably never have been found out so will have got away with it.  But had he been......

However, and herein lies the rub, both those people were defrauding me and the millions like me who are honest with their insurance companies and are actually subsidising and paying for the dishonesty of the others.  

Fraud costs each of us with car insurance about £50 annually. It's the same principle as honest shoppers in supermarkets paying for the shoplifters.  The irony is that not one of those who defrauded the insurance companies would ever have dreamt of shoplifting: that would, after all, be stealing and they are all honest upright citizens.

24 comments:

  1. That reminds me of the trailers on DVDs that equates stealing a car with illegally downloading a movie. That always annoyed me as theft involves depriving someone of a physical object. You can't steal a movie by downloading it, you can of course commit a copyright violation. It's similar here in that people who wouldn't steal a physical object have a different view on fraud.

    (Sorry if you get two copies but blogger seems to be messing me about)

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    1. Interestingly, Mark, in NZ it was illegal to copy your own CD onto an iPod. There was talk of altering the law but I'm not sure whether it's happened yet.

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    2. Until the beginning of this month it was technically illegal to copy a CD onto an iPod in the UK as well.

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  2. A lawless lot are the Scots. No ifs or buts they are criminals but as you imply they would be horrified to be branded as such.

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    1. You might say that Adrian. I couldn't possibly comment. For the record, though, one of those to whom I referred was English.

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    2. English. Are you sure? I'm horrified.

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  3. In all aspects of life, honesty is definitely the best policy. Then you can sleep soundly in your bed. I know people - including one of my brothers - who have defrauded insurance companies by making false claims on holiday insurance such as the pretence of stolen cameras. I find such behaviour deplorable.

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    1. On this we are absolutely at one YP.

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  4. I've become very intolerant of this sort of thing. I think I would have just bluntly asked why they didn't consider it to be dishonest. Because it is.

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    1. Oh Jenny I made my views very well known. I was just looked at with a sort of disbelieving pity.

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  5. Great theme! Could I get you going on tax cheaters?

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  6. Excellent points, Graham. I can once told my insurance company that they shouldn't have paid out for a particular horse injury,and I reimbursed them. It's a matter of being able to live with yourself, isn't it, besides not cheating anyone. I think they thought I was mad.

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    1. Frances presumably you made the claim so if you then told them they shouldn't have paid I can understand that they might have been perplexed. The views if insurers can be quite the reverse of what people think. When my conservatory was destroyed in a hurricane in 2005 the assessor was going over everything and asked why I hadn't claimed for various things which had been damaged but not to the extent that I thought it worth claiming. He said that it wasn't for me to decide that and as the insurance company's representative he felt they should be replaced and the insurance company paid up. I really didn't feel like arguing with him.

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    2. Actually, it was the vet who sent the bill, forgetting that this was a different injury which didn't reach the amount beyond which I had to pay. But the insurers did keep reminding me of things I could claim for, but didn't need to.

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    3. That explains it Frances. Thank you. I was genuinely very puzzled by that one.

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  7. I think I'd also dare put a small bet on the guess that the people who cheat with insurances like that and brag about it, aren't even the ones to whom the money they might get from it really makes all that much of a difference...

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    1. Monica you've made a very valid point here.

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  8. Same argument extends to pirating software and music. The honest people are subsidising their grab-it-all-for-free mentality. Just 'cos you can doesn't mean you should ~ comes back to our own internal moral compass.

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    1. Carol I agree with you absolutely. I can go to bed with a clear conscience. The problem is that those who defraud probably do too. It's a case of how one's compass is set.

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  9. My downstairs neigbhour is like the people you have described, Graham. He has a plan of pretending to fall off his raised patio (because there is no railing installed, although his landlord has been promising to do it for 2 years) and then get his landlord to pay for his injury. He told us of his plan very proudly; his wife was clearly unhappy about the idea and kept trying to make him stop talking. At the same time, this man feels highly superior in all respects to our Turkish neighbours, because he is Italian.

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  10. GB you have struck a cord with me on this topic....I don't want to get started on dishonesty and fraudsters.....and boasting about it too....makes me so angry.
    How did you remain cool in that situation??

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    1. Yes Virginia this is, as you can see, something that gets my goat. I may have been calm but I mad my views known.

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