Moral intensity, moral awareness and ethical predispositions: The case of insurance fraud

Chiharu Ishida, Woojung Chang, Steve Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The issue of insurance fraud by consumers continues to perplex insurance firms, costing billions of dollars per year in the United States alone. Some analysts report that 10 per cent or more of property/casualty insurance claims are fraudulent, while less than 20 per cent of fraudulent claims being detected. Consumer attitudes are becoming more tolerant of insurance fraud in recent years. Recognizing that not all insurance fraud situations are created equal, we investigate variability in perceptions of moral intensity in dissimilar insurance padding situations in a 2 (to help others versus to profit self) × 2 (a small credit union versus a large online insurer) model and compared the results between two independent samples (college students/Millennials and an older adult population). We also investigated the impact of ethical predispositions (formalism and utilitarianism) on moral awareness and moral judgment using these four scenarios. The results suggest that the Millennials may exhibit more situationalism and more lenient judgments of collaborative versus unilateral ethical violations. In particular, 'for self' versus 'for others' comparisons show striking differences between the two age groups. The results add to the growing literature in explaining intra-personal variability in moral decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-18
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Financial Services Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • insurance fraud
  • moral awareness
  • moral intensity
  • moral judgment
  • moral recognition


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