LONDON (Reuters) - Efforts by the insurance industry to crack down on fraud have pushed the level of fraudulent claims uncovered in Britain over 1 billion pounds per year for the first time, new figures show.
According to industry body the Association of British Insurers (ABI), investigators exposed more than 124,000 bogus or exaggerated claims in 2012, worth 1.1 billion pounds, or 21 million pounds every week.
Home insurance frauds were the most common scam, with 51,000 cases uncovered, while motor insurance was the most costly, amounting to 614 million pounds of fraudulent claims uncovered. For comparison, in 2011 the industry paid out 9.3 billion pounds in private and commercial motor insurance claims.
The value of frauds detected by investigators has nearly doubled between 2007 and 2012, the ABI said.
Nick Starling, the ABI's director of general insurance attributed the rise in scams being uncovered to the joint efforts of a specialist police unit - the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department - and the industry itself.
"The impact of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, the development of the Insurance Fraud Register and the work of insurers' own fraud investigation teams underline our determination to deter potential cheats," he said.
Britain's insurance industry is dominated by home grown blue chip firms such as RSA, Admiral and Direct Line.
($1 = 0.6512 British pounds)
(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; editing by Patrick Graham)