Cash For Crash Cheats Put Lives at Risk!

The insurance industry is calling for a more pro-active role from the police to combat fraudulent motor accident claims, or ‘cash for crash’ claims, as they’ve become known. The Insurance Fraud Bureau has shown that there has been an 11% reduction in organized cash for crash claims over the last two years, but only in those areas where the police have become heavily involved. The Bureau also claims that in areas that are still lacking in protracted police involvement such as Liverpool, Halifax and the east London boroughs of Ilford and Barking, fraudulent claims are on the rise.

The real concern is that these cases put innocent motorists at risk; motorists who would not otherwise have been involved in any kind of insurance claim. The major insurers are now working closely with the police to notify them of any claims that they believe may be part of an organised attempt to defraud the industry through staged accidents.

There are three main types of accident that can be labelled as ‘cash for crash’ events. The first and most dangerous type is an induced accident, where fraudsters deliberately engineer a crash with an innocent driver. These often occur at roundabouts or junctions, with the fraudster’s vehicle suddenly manoeuvring in front of the ‘target’ vehicle and then breaking sharply, causing the target vehicle to collide with the rear of the car. The second type of accident is a ‘staged’ accident, where both cars are controlled by fraudsters who set up a collision or damage the cars in other ways and then submit claims.

The third type of fraudulent claim is the paper claim. In this instance the vehicles are never actually involved in an incident; the claim is based around bogus paperwork. In some cases multiple occupants of the fraudulent vehicles may claim for whiplash and inflate bills with over quoted repair bills and courtesy car rental. All of this can bump a minor claim into a major one.

Insurance companies and specialist claims solicitors are wising up quickly to the antics of the fraudulent claimers, but are angry that time that could be allocated to dealing with genuine claims for genuine victims is being taken up in dealing with these cases. The fact that the police are now looking at this practice as a form of organised crime has led to a greater emphasis on stopping the fraudsters in their tracks. Since its set up three years ago, the Insurance Fraud Bureau has helped police make more than 300 arrests and has ongoing active operations in 13 police forces. Insurers and claims specialists hope that the raised profile and police involvement will deter would be fraudsters from trying to take advantage of the system.

The most important thing to remember in any accident is to take accurate details at the scene (photos are the best evidence of actual events) and if possible ensure that there are witnesses. Then if a fraudulent claim is attempted, the evidence will quickly throw a light on it and save both time and money for everyone involved. The hope is that as people become aware that this is a criminal act that the threat of prosecution will dissuade gangs from putting innocent motorists lives at risk by staging cash for crash incidents.

One gang that tried to claim £5million from insurers from a string of bogus car accidents over two and a half years are now serving jail sentences of up to four years. The insurers worked in close co-operation with the Insurance Fraud Bureau and the City of London police to bring them to justice, but claims experts know that there are still plenty of gangs on Britain’s roads who are willing to put drivers lives at risk by stage managing accidents. Only with continued co-operation between the insurers, the claims experts and the police as well as the help of innocent motorists caught up in these scams will they finally be brought to book for their actions.

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