Free 'eyes' to fight motor fraud
MOTORISTS now have an extra pair of eyes on the roads to help make sure they do not get fraudulent insurance claims slapped on them, when they meet with an accident.
From Friday, Singapore's largest motor insurer NTUC Income will launch a mobile application called Orange Eye, which captures footage of the road on a smartphone while driving.
Motorists can download the app for free on Apple and Android-based smartphones. This allows them to submit their videos when making motor insurance claims.
It also comes with additional features such as a message button that sends a pre-determined text message with a map location to the user's chosen emergency contact.
NTUC Income motor policyholders have an additional option to notify Orange Force, the organisation's 24-hour accident response team.
With the new app in place, vice-president of motor insurance at NTUC Income, Peh Chee Keong, hopes that the number of inflated or fraudulent claims received by the motor insurance industry will go down by half next year.
Currently, about 20 per cent of motor insurance claims are inflated or fraudulent, according to figures from the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA). This cost motor insurers here an estimated $140 million in 2012.
"If fraudulent practices persist, motor insurance premiums will inevitably increase," he said. "This affects everyone, including safe drivers who do not make any claims."
Mr Peh also pointed out that having video evidence can help to "expedite the process" of settling a claim or a dispute by reducing discrepancies in statements between the parties involved.
"Most drivers recognise that video evidence is useful in settling disputes," added Marcus Chew, vice-president of strategic marketing at NTUC Income, noting that more policyholders have been submitting their claims together with video evidence.
Last year, NTUC Income received about 40 claims backed with video evidence each month, up from the average of 10 claims it received each month over the previous three years.
Said Mr Chew: "With more 'eyes' on the road, drivers are likely to be more conscious about their driving behaviour."
NTUC Income's move to combat insurance fraud follows that of the GIA, which set up a hotline for motorists to alert the association last December.
To date, GIA has received 341 calls via the hotline, of which 81 were related to fraud.
For motorist Tan Yu Yuan, 27, the new app is "not a bad idea", especially as it is available for free.
But his concern remains with its usage on the road, as motorists are not allowed to use their phones while driving.
"I wouldn't want to be pulled over by the traffic police for using my phone when I'm actually just trying to get the app to work," said the business development executive.