A report has been produced seeking to understand the motivations behind opportunistic insurance fraudsters.
Based on interviews with fraudsters, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said they were characterised by "being spur of the moment decisions" with little planning, and they made claims when there was a chance to claim "for more than legally entitled", when others introduced the idea and when "it was easy to do".
The study, carried out by Perpetuity Research, found opportunists often made mistakes, which could be spotted by "well-trained, vigilant" insurance staff.
According to the report Insurance Fraudsters, which was supported by the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) and the City of London Police, fraudsters would have been less likely to have committed fraud if they had been aware of consequences.
The report outlined some case studies of fraudsters and their offences such as exaggerated claims and deception. For example, a woman lent her car to an uninsured driver who had an accident and fled the scene. When she was told, she panicked and reported the car stolen. She admitted deception and was later sentenced to carry out community service.
The report also included interviews with organised fraudsters such as "ghost brokers", who often exploit people's carelessness and ignorance to sell them worthless policies. In a case study, one ghost broker set up a website providing bogus low-cost insurance.
Professor Martin Gill, co-author of the report, stressed the importance of raising awareness that those committing frauds often got caught and the consequences were "far greater then they realised". He also mentioned the need to raise public awareness about insurance scammers who "dupe the public", adding: "If your insurance quote looks too good to be true then it may be just that."
Mark Allen, manager of fraud and financial crime at the ABI, said: "While it is pleasing that fraudsters are aware of insurance initiatives to tackle the problem, the report signals that the industry must redouble its message around the severe and long-lasting consequences of being caught committing insurance fraud.
"These include not only getting a criminal record, and a possible custodial sentence, but the adverse impact on family relationships, future job prospects and accessing vital financial services such as mortgages and loans."
Detective chief superintendent Dave Clark, who is head of the City of London Police Economic Crime Directorate and oversees the IFED, said: "If we are really going to get to grips with this criminality we need to have a deeper understanding of exactly why people are committing insurance fraud.
"The evidence base gathered in this report will help us do just that, taking us inside the criminal mind which in turn will enable IFED and industry to strengthen the prevention mechanisms that are a key part of our overall strategy to reduce the scale and impact of insurance fraud across the UK."