Dashboard Cam film stops staged crash for cash from being paid out on innocent drivers insurance
Crash for cash – road traffic accidents deliberately caused in order to claim whiplash compensation – is now at the highest level ever detected by Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer. Organised gangs are at the heart of the increase in the number of these induced accidents.
So far this year, Aviva has seen a 21% increase in organised fraud over 2013, contributing to the record number of fraudulent motor claims. More than 50% of Aviva’s motor injury claims fraud is now organised in nature and the insurer now has over 6,500 suspicious injury claims linked to known fraud rings.
The latest view from Aviva of where organised gangs induce motor accidents reveals Birmingham and Greater London are the UK’s crash for cash hotspots*. In the past, the northwest – particularly Manchester – has been the focal point for crash for cash activity. However, a number of successful operations and prosecutions in that area, as well as the expansion of organised fraud in other areas of the UK, is changing that picture.
Top 10 Postcodes for Crash for Cash by number of accidents:
- Birmingham (B)
- Luton (LU)
- North London (N)
- Manchester (M)
- Leeds (LS)
- Uxbridge (UB)
- Harrow (HA)
- North West London (NW)
- Bradford (BD)
- Slough (IG)
Tom Gardiner, Head of Claims Fraud for Aviva’s UK and Ireland General Insurance business, said, “Crash for cash is not just a financial problem – it’s a serious social problem. No other form of insurance fraud puts the public at risk of serious injury.
“Imagine you’re driving the kids to school when the car in front slams on their brakes without warning, leaving you no chance of avoiding a crash. These deliberate accidents are on the increase, putting innocent motorists at risk simply so the driver in front can get cash compensation. Last year Aviva found these accidents increased by 51%, and they are continuing to grow. Part of the growth is coming as fraudsters are moving away from a small number of “hot spot” locations to a much wider footprint.
“The fight against fraud begins with an effective deterrent. In addition to more prosecutions and stronger sentences, we need to remove the financial incentive for minor whiplash claims like those claimed for by serial crash for cash fraudsters. We are asking the Government to consider compensating short-term whiplash with rehabilitation, instead of cash. Would crash for cash exist if there was no money in it? We don’t think so.”
Crash for cash not only threatens motorists’ safety, but also their pockets, adding an estimated £400 million to the cost of car insurance – or around £14 on every motor insurance premium. Fraudulent motor claims in Birmingham postcodes detected by Aviva totalled more than £4.7m through August this year. This can influence premiums in the Birmingham area, and is one of the reasons why Aviva is committed to fighting this reckless form of fraud – to reduce customer premiums.
Gardiner continued, “We are urging motorists to remain alert to crash for cash, especially in those areas where we know this is a problem. As our data shows, innocent motorists are put at an increasing risk from professional fraudsters which is why we’ve published advice to motorists to help them prevent getting caught up in this dangerous act.”
Finally, Aviva – which is estimated to insure one in 10 vehicles on the road – says that the number of staged accidents it detected rose from 536 in 2013 to 820 last year – a staggering increase of 51 per cent on 2012. Staged ‘cash for cash’ insurance frauds have soared by 51 per cent in a year and nearly doubled in two years new figures reveal.
These resulted in the number of individual fraudulent cash-for-crash claims rising from 1,417 to 2,200 over the same period – an increase of 55 per cent, it said.