Campaign Fraudulent Claims
Client Zurich Municipal
PR team Kinross & Render
Timescale December 2005 - January 2006
Budget Under £100,000
Having successfully mounted a year-long campaign backing local authorities' initiatives to crack down on, and prosecute, bogus claimants, Zurich wanted to continue the momentum with a more lighthearted story. As well as garner wider press coverage, it wanted to highlight the cost to businesses of paying out spurious claims.
To cut the number of fraudulent claims by raising public awareness of the high cost and damage to frontline services caused by spurious legal action. To position Zurich among councils as a fraud expert and to raise awareness of the issue among opinion formers, including politicians and the media.
Strategy and Plan
K&R's previous local authority campaign had produced interesting examples of false claims. These included a motorist who said there had not been enough warning signs of an upcoming roundabout, causing him to drive over it and crash; a claim for a new pair of trousers because the claimant had soiled himself outside a locked bus-station toilet; and a refuse collector seeking damages after a dead badger fell from a black bin-bag and hit him.
K&R knew the excuses would make interesting copy for journalists, and decided to use the examples to bring to life Zurich's research into the cost of claims. Zurich found that local governments are forced to pay out between £200m and £250m a year in liability claims, including fraudulent claims that slip through the net.
Alongside trade journalists who had been targeted for the previous year's local authority campaign, including contacts at Insurance Age, Public Finance and Municipal Journal, mainstream press were the prime target.
The release was put out on 19 December 2005 in an effort to achieve maximum pick-up - K&R believed news journalists would be hungry for a story in the slow pre-Christmas period.
Measurement and Evaluation
Although the 'fraudulent claims' newshook had been used by national newspapers, including The Guardian, since last summer, K&Rs campaign still attracted plenty of press attention.
Follow-on coverage of Zurich Municipal's 'spurious claims' story boasted a potential audience reach of over 17 million, with coverage appearing in nine national newspapers including the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star, The Guardian, The Times and The Independent on Sunday. Articles also appeared in The Daily Record, Irish Independent, Liverpool's Daily Post and the Nottingham Evening Post. BBC.co.uk, myfinances.co.uk and The Sun Online also ran the story.
Latest figures by Zurich show that the number of public liability claims have dropped by 25 per cent since June 2005.
Local Government First editor Rachel Potter says the story was memorable: 'Fraudulent compensation claims are a major headache for local councils. The story highlighted the problem in a quirky way, while also making the point that councils and their insurers are on the lookout for dodgy claims. The press information was clearly written and well targeted.'