Harare (New Ziana) -The Zimbabwe Insurance Crimes bureau (ZICB) was officially launched on Tuesday amid high expectations it will weed out fraud in the sector which reports indicate is on an upward trend.
ZICB is an insurance fraud fighting unit made up of 20 insurers and 10 reinsurance companies among other stakeholders.
Its responsibility is to assist the insurance community in preventing insurance fraud and investigating various cases as they occur.
Speaking at the launch, Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) commissioner Grace Muradzikwa said the bureau would go a long way in eliminating insurance fraud.
“Insurance fraud has far reaching consequences for the economy and consumers. When insurance performance is not good, our initial reaction is to raise premiums so that we recoup. That’s why it is important that we eliminate this scourge,” she said.
Muradzikwa said fraud eats into resources that could have been channelled towards legitimate claims.
“The bureau should not be used by the industry as a vehicle for repudiating legitimate claims. While insurance fraud exists, the insurance industry should resist the temptation to delay the settlement of legitimate claims under the pretext of fraud investigations. Honest policy holders should not be punished for the crimes of fraudsters,” she said.
She said the commission expects the insurance players to settle all legitimate claims timeously and efficiently for the benefit of policy holders.
According to the international association of insurance supervisors, it is estimated that 30 percent of global insurance claims are fraudulent.
ZICB chairman Patrick Kusikwenyu said potential insurance fraud of about US$450 000 had been prevented since the bureau’s inception in 2019.
“We believe the bureau is an anecdote for insurance fraud,” he said.
According to the IPEC, insurance fraud can be said to occur when an insured or someone in relation to an insurance process, knowingly makes a falsified claim or misrepresents facts in relation to an insurance claim or process.
The most common types of insurance fraud in Zimbabwe include fictitious death claims, exaggerated claims amount, insuring terminally ill patients and employee fraud.