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Bart Custers in NRC on insurers' role in fraud cases

Insurers determine for themselves whether someone has committed fraud, impose sanctions immediately and hardly ever report it. As a result, police, prosecutors, and criminal courts are side-lined. And policyholders are sometimes left out in the cold. Bart Custers, professor of Law & Data Science at eLaw, the Centre for Law and Digital Technology, is critical of this in Dutch newspaper NRC on 9 May 2023.

According to their industry association, non-life and life insurers in the Netherlands annually process around 12,500 fraud cases each year. Of which they report only a few dozen cases. That means insurers handle more than 99 per cent of fraud cases themselves, without involving the police. Guarantees under criminal law for the insured - such as that they are innocent until proven otherwise by a judge - do not come into play.

Previously, Bart Custers wrote in Dutch newspaper Trouw that better safeguards are needed. Although registering fraudsters is in principle a good plan to tackle fraud, research shows that more and more people end up on the fraud list, sometimes unjustifiably so. Insurers are not transparent about the criteria they use to designate someone as a fraudster. It is unclear how policyholders are supposed to defend themselves against this such accusations. In reality, insurers are simultaneously playing the role of prosecutor and judge.

You can read the article (in Dutch) here.

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