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The total value of fraudulent insurance claims in the UK has hit a record £1.3bn Reuters

The total value of fraudulent insurance claims hit £1.3bn in 2013 – a new record for the UK.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says that the new landmark figure was up 18% on 2012 as insurers discovered a total 118,500 false claims were made, equivalent to 2,279 a week.

Despite the amount of fake claims being slightly less than the previous year, the ABI says that the average value of fraud detected was up to £10,813 (€13,302, $18,106) per claim.

False cover claims for vehicles were the most common type, with the ABI saying that these had risen to 59,900 in 2013, with their value totalling £811m, up 32%.

The number of fraudulent insurance claims for property slightly fell in 2012 but, overall, general false claims have more than doubled since 2007.

"Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, which is why the industry invests £200 million a year in fraud detection, including funding the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, and developing the Insurance Fraud Register, a central database of known insurance cheats," said Aiden Kerr, the ABI's assistant director and head of fraud.

"The more that is done to crackdown on the dishonest, the quicker and more effectively insurers can deal with the claims from the honest majority.

"The message is clear: never has it been harder to get away with committing insurance fraud; never have the penalties - ranging from a custodial sentence and a criminal record to difficulties in obtaining financial products in the future - been so severe."

Since 2011, the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department has arrested over 470 people in connection with fraudulent claims, which has led to 85 prosecutions.