City boy fleeced £46k by inflating insurance premiums for bouncy castle rental companies

Gary Whipps police mugshot in front of a bouncy castle
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/City of London Police)

A City Boy who pocketed £46,000 inflating insurance premiums for clients renting out bouncy castles has been jailed after the scam blew up in his face. Gary Whipps, a former self-employed insurance broker with Insursec Risk Management, sourced insurance for companies that ran amusement parks and offered rentals on inflatables and soft play equipment.

The 32-year-old trickster, from Thundersley in Essex, edited genuine contracts for 26 clients to bloat the premiums. He then paid the insurer the correct premium and pocketed the difference. Whipps pleaded guilty to 39 counts of fraud by false representation at Chelmsford Crown Court on March 8 2024, after an investigation by the fraud squad at City of London Police.

The scammer was jailed for two years at the same court on Wednesday (June 5), and confiscation hearings are due to start this December. Detective Constable Surinder Ram, from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said Whipps had been 'rightfully punished' and they would now be going after the cash swindled from his victims.

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Gary Whipps police mugshot
Deflated: Gary Whipps was jailed for two years after forging insurance premium contracts -Credit:City of London Police

“Insurance brokers like Whipps are meant to help their customers find the right cover for them at the best price. However, Whipps showed little regard for his clients, some of whom thought of him as a friend, and prioritised his own financial gain," said DC Ram.

“Not only did Whipps make a substantial amount of money at his clients’ expense, he left some of them without the insurance cover they thought they had paid for. As a broker, he would have been fully aware of the financial and reputational risks he left them open to."

'Injured chopping down a hedge'

Since 2016, Whipps worked for a broker providing insurance for businesses, selling policies from a wholesale broker that offered insurance for other brokers to buy on behalf of their clients. The compliance team at the wholesale broker began to suspect Whipps had doctored contracts after they were contacted by the owner of a bouncy castle hire company in Ireland who had bought an insurance policy from Whipps in April 2019.

The team found Whipps had edited the document so it falsely stated the policy was valid in the Republic of Ireland. It meant if there had been an accident involving a child on the bouncy castle, the company would not have been covered by insurance. Further contracts showed Whipps had increased the cost of premiums - by between £100 to £27,286 - on another 38 policies between February 2018 and June 2020.

In one case, a Welsh amusement park owner bought a policy from Whipps in December 2019, under the impression it included cover for business interruption and paid premium of £44,800. But in March 2020, when they tried to make a claim due to Covid restrictions, they had to fork out £235,000 of their own money when it transpired the policy did not cover them.

Whipps initially avoided their calls by claiming his child was ill and his leg was injured chopping down a hedge, then advised them to pretend his property had been stolen to obtain the money another way. After contacting the wholesale broker, the owner then discovered the premium should only have cost £12,355.

'Selfish actions'

Whipps was suspended from his job in June, and the wholesale broker referred the case to the fraud squad on July 9. Investigators found the £44,800 from the owner of the amusement park had been paid into a bank account owned by Whipps. He was arrested on November 3 and answered 'no comment' to all questions asked.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) also conducted checks with other insurance companies to ensure they had not been targeted by Whipps’ activity. IFB Head of Intelligence, Investigations & Data Services, Jon Radford, said the Bureau was pleased to see Whipps had 'faced the serious consequences of his selfish actions'.

“Whipps grossly neglected the professional standards expected of insurance brokers. He was trusted by so many companies to provide them with vital business cover but left them risking serious financial and legal complications just so he could line his own pockets," added Mr Radford.

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