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The profile of unethical insurance customers: a European perspective

Ali Dehghanpour (Umea School of Business and Economics, Umea University, Umea, Sweden)
Zeinab Rezvani (Umea School of Business and Economics, Umea University, Umea, Sweden)

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 18 May 2015




Although perceived as a wrong act, insurance fraud is a prevalent phenomenon. The purpose of this paper is to understand the psychological factors that lead to reporting an exaggerated/false insurance claim would enable insurance companies and policy makers to devise better preventive policies.


Utilizing data-driven clustering techniques on psychological and demographic measures from 985 insurance customers in Europe, this study outlines profiles of segments of customers as it relates to dishonesty in dealing with insurance companies. The segmentation criteria include attitude toward insurance fraud, perceived probability of punishment, basic human values and morals, religiosity, life satisfaction and demographic characteristics.


Results reveal the existence of four market segments. The segments include non-conservatives (sensitive to both perception of wrong behavior and the monetary payoff for a fraudulent claim), self-protectionists (sensitive to the probability of being caught), hedonists (sensitive to the personal pleasure and monetary payoffs for insurance fraud) and socially focused individuals (sensitive to social norms regarding admitting to having committed insurance fraud). Among the demographic variables, only education and among psychological variables, universalism, hedonism, security, conformity, tradition, benevolence, moral philosophy, religiosity, perceived probability of punishment and attitude toward insurance fraud were significantly different among the four identified segments.

Practical implications

Specific policies are proposed in order to prevent insurance fraud, tailored to the specific profile of each segment.


Using a psychological perspective and a data-driven methodology, this study identifies four heterogeneous segments of unethical insurance customers with dissimilar values, attitudes toward fraud and perception of punishment probability.



Dehghanpour, A. and Rezvani, Z. (2015), "The profile of unethical insurance customers: a European perspective", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 298-315.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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