What appeared to be a straightforward collision between a lorry and a Mercedes, later turned out to be something far more serious. Video footage from a forward facing RoadHawk black box camera system provided detailed evidence leading up to the crash. On further inspection the insurance company involved deemed the video to be suspicious and passed it on to the Police.
After a lengthy investigation the Police have uncovered what they believe to be a major crash for cash ring involving over 120 staged accidents in over a number of years, potentially totaling more than £3m of insurance fraud. This clearly demonstrates the advantage of having a RoadHawk forward facing GPS black box video camera to your vehicle.
“Crash for cash” incidents where fraudsters commit staged accidents to claim on other motorist’s insurance are at an all-time high.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) estimates more than 30,000 accidents were staged last year costing insurance companies around £350 million. All of these costs are passed back to the policy holder increasing their premiums on average by up to £44.
The staged accident scam appears to be moving south. Birmingham was the UK’s top fraud hot spot area, but now incidents have risen in parts of London, the industry-funded body said. Until recently the claims were mostly confined to North-West England and the other four top spots for insurance fraud of this sort were filled by Liverpool, Blackburn, Manchester and Leeds. Parts of London are in the top 10 for the first time. East London takes sixth position and North London is in ninth position.
The fraudsters cause an innocent motorist to drive into the back of their vehicle by braking suddenly on a clear road or roundabout. They often use the handbrake so there are no brake lights. It is normally accepted that a driver rear-ending another car must be at fault. “These crash for cash fraudsters tend to pick on people who are single mums or elderly people, people who are less likely to cause them any issues. They target drivers of commercial vehicles, because drivers tend not to care as much if they’re not driving their own vehicle”.
The claims made average £17,000 and can include demands for payment of storage costs and recovery fees and the usual personal injury claims. Andrew Wigmore, Policy Director at the Claims Standards Council, says the scam is “highly organised fraud”. “If you imagine the claims management company is the acquirer. He might be part of the gang. He then sells that claim for a fee to someone which is also part of the gang, or in his family which is a solicitor’s firm. Glen Marr, from the IFB, said the scam costs everyone: “We estimate there are around 30,000 staged accidents a year costing the insurance industry £350m”.
To report crash for cash insurance fraud call the IFB’s cheat line on 0800 328 2550