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Insurance cheats change tack as ‘crash for cash’ fraud foiled

16 November 2015

  • £60 million reduction in traditional ‘crash for cash’ scams.
  • Fraudsters targeting other areas of insurance – ‘slip and trip’ investigations on the rise.

New figures released today suggest the cost of ‘crash for cash’ fraud has dropped by almost £60 million in the last three years following a major crackdown by insurers and the police, forcing insurance cheats to change tack.

Statistics from the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) indicate an overall decline in ‘crash for cash’ fraud, with total scams now valued at £336 million (compared to £392 million in 2012).

 ‘Crash for Cash’ – key facts:

  • 1 in 10 – personal injury claims can be linked to suspected ‘crash for cash’ scams.
  • 55,573 – claims linked to suspected ‘crash for cash’ scams.
  • £1.3 million – average value of organised ‘crash for cash’ fraud ring.

Source: Insurance Fraud Bureau, 2015

 ‘Crash for Cash’ – public opinion:

  • 73% of public think ‘crash for cash’ is a big problem in the UK.
  • 71% of motorists concerned about sustaining injuries in targeted crashes.
  • 79% of motorists concerned about rising insurance premiums to cover the cost of fraud.

Source: Ipsos Mori survey, 2015

Despite a tighter grip on ‘crash for cash’, the IFB has reported an increase in different types of motor scams and organised fraud being investigated in other areas of insurance, including ‘slip and trips’, noise-induced hearing loss and household property claims.

Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB, said:

“Whilst today’s figures prove that the insurance industry, in partnership with police, is closing the net on ‘crash for cash’ fraudsters, our work is far from done. Fuelled by greed, insurance cheats still put innocent members of the public in grave danger when they deliberately cause crashes. We will leave no stone unturned in pursing these fraudsters, securing prison sentences and making our roads safer.”

Since the IFB was set-up in 2006, the Bureau has assisted with over 1,110 arrests, securing prison sentences totalling over 340 years for criminals orchestrating ‘crash for cash’ scams. In recent months, the IFB has increased investigations in other lines of organised insurance fraud.

“Criminals will attempt to defraud insurers of money across all areas of insurance, from fake household claims to bogus motor and liability personal injury claims,” added Fletcher.

A recent example is in the case of Andrea Hill (aged 48, from Anchorsholme) who was convicted in April 2015 of fraud by false representation after claiming injuries from tripping over a pothole. Hill colluded with other known fraud suspects and presented a claim for a trip outside of Gibson’s Newsagents in Preston. CCTV footage obtained by LV= proved that Hill was not in the area on the date/time of the alleged incident. The IFB is receiving intelligence to suggest that this type of scam is on the rise and involves organised professional fraudsters.

David Hertzell, Head of the Government’s Fraud Taskforce, said:

“Fraud is anti-social. It is the honest customer that ultimately picks up the bill for insurance cheats and it’s the lives of innocent motorists being gambled with when a ‘crash for cash’ fraudster stamps on their brakes on busy roads. The Government will continue to support the insurance industry in stamping out fraud, but we all have a role to play in exposing the criminals.”

The IFB is currently investigating over 135 operations into organised motor fraud (typically ‘crash for cash’ motor fraud) valued in excess of £125 million and is working with the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), and police forces across the UK, to develop intelligence and gather evidence to bring these fraudsters to justice.

If you have any information about insurance scams, or have any suspicions about the activities of others, call Cheatline (powered by Crimestoppers) on 0800 422 0421 or report online at www.insurancefraudbureau.org.

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