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Fighting Fraud

The cost of insurance fraud hit £1.3 billion in 2013 which was up 18% on the previous year, according to figures according to figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).   Britain’s largest insurer, Aviva, has reported that crash for cash scams have hit a new peak during 2014 and add £400m to the costs of motorists premiums. It says organised gangs are at the heart of the problem with a 21% increase in them this year compared to 2013.Despite raised awareness; the problem continues to blight the car insurance industry. Click here for a copy of the article. Alternatively if you’d like a hardcopy click here

“I see that Aviva have recently announced that they have successfully challenged over 200 claims this year, and I expect others in this industry to follow suit. The Government has done its bit by reducing the cost of civil litigation, and it is now time for you to step up to the plate and do yours.”

Chris Grayling,  Secretary of State for Justice, 2nd Dec 2014  

Taxi and truck businesses are particularly vulnerable as drivers’ annual mileages can often exceed 5 to 10 times that of the average car user. For a taxi and truck fleet this could mean thousands of pounds extra each year if steps are not taken to reduce the risk of being a victim.  

Listed below are some of the most common problems:

  • Low Speed Impact

    We have all heard in the news about fraudulent claims costing every honest motorist £50 a year in additional premiums.

     

    One of the most common types of fraudulent personal injury claims come from Low Speed Impact (LSI) incidents. Unlike the high profile organised fraud scams, LSI fraud is committed by opportunist fraudsters who are looking to make a financial gain from very minor incidents; which could result in injury.

     

    This particular type of fraud is verify difficult to prove and even more difficult to defend. However, the tide is turning and Aviva, with the support of their policyholders are fighting these claims. Judges are now more sympathetic to insurers who, armed with the right evidence, aim to tackle fraud head-on. In fact, Aviva win 3 out of 4 cases that they defend all the way to court.

     

    Aviva Low Speed Impact Claims - A customer story, Tony Attwood

    Upload _thumbnail

    Driving Motor Claims Reform - Andrew Morrish, Motor Claims Director

    Screen Shot 2015-03-30 At 16.37.26

  • Ghost / Bogus Passengers

    This is where aquaintances of the person involved in an accident claim to have been in the vehicle at the time and subsequently try to make a personal injury claim

    It’s usually whiplash which is very hard to medically disprove when weeks or months have passed by. 

    The “ghosts” could be passengers in your taxi, in the other vehicle that has been collided with, or both!

    What to Do ?

    Please study our section on Reporting Accidents and Managing Costs for some practical things you can do   

    HELPFUL DOCUMENTS

    UK Fraud Map

     

  • Induced Accidents

    In simple terms this is where accidents are pre-planned. Aviva uncovered a 51% increase in these scams in 2013 with organised gangs being behind half of these fake motor injury claims.

    The fraud frequently involves older cars, or newer hired out vehicles; which are filled with passengers all hoping to cash in on a whiplash claim.

    Common scenarios are sudden and sharp braking by the vehicle in front leaving innocent victims little chance but to run into the back of them. There have also been reports of fraudsters disconnecting their brake lights so that the car behind has even less chance of stopping.

    Induced incidents often occur when roads are quieter with fewer independent witnesses.  Gangs tend to target innocent drivers who appear the most likely to be insured and the least likely to kick up a fuss, such as those with well-maintained cars, older drivers and families with young children.

    Roundabouts can also be hotspots. Recently “flash for cash” has been exposed where fraudsters flash their lights to get ready for having the accidents.

    Last year The Insurance Fraud Bureau launched a campaign with Crimestoppers appealing to the public to share information on criminals staging car accidents and risking public safety.

  • Rear Passenger Roadside Door

    We have heard of examples where passengers ask taxi drivers suddenly to pull over.

    They have then opened the roadside doors into the oncoming path of a prearranged accomplice who is travelling behind.

    This car then hits your taxi rear door and unsurprisingly holds you to blame.

    Meanwhile your passengers have disappeared leaving passengers in the other car all complaining of injury whilst holding you responsible!   

    What to Do ?

    If asked to pull over suddenly try and manage the timing of when door locks are released or ask for kerbside only disembarkation from your vehicle.

    HELPFUL DOCUMENTS

    UK Fraud Map

  • Crash for Cash

    Crash 4cash Crimestoppers -and -IFB-cheatline -infographic

    What to Look Out For?

    Any erratic driving or cars travelling suspiciously slow; especially when these cars are full with rear seat passengers.   

    Motorists should maintain a safe distance behind the driver in front and be particularly cautious if they notice that the brake lights on the car in front are not working. If the driver or passengers in the vehicle in front appear to be focusing on what’s behind them, this could be a sign they are looking for an opportunity to induce an accident.  

    If, as a taxi, you notice your own passengers all behaving suspiciously e.g. constant looking out for other traffic whilst using mobile phones; be on alert as your taxi may be have been booked to be involved in an induced incident.

  • How to Fight Back

    If you suspect you have been the victim of a crash for cash scam, you should call the police while still at the scene and ask the police to attend.

    What to Do?

    Fighting this fraud, especially when “LSI “ is very difficult to defend against because accurately estimating the speed/velocity of the impact is hard if not impossible.
     
    However, when the right evidence is collected at the scene of the incident, insurers are more likely to defend claims; taking them to court if necessary. See our link to a recent victory in court for one of our taxi customers.
     
    Listed below are 12 important things to do and record after a low speed impact.

    -   Assess the speed of impact at walking/running pace as well as an MPH estimate.
    -   Had you just set off or were you in slow moving traffic?
    -   What gear were you in at the point of impact?
    -   Take photos of the vehicles at the point of impact e.g. the bumpers for any visible damage.
         -   Do this even if damage looks to be non-existent and try to get the
             registration number in the picture.
         -   Email yourself the pictures if taken on smart phones.
         -   If photos are not possible be as descriptive of any visible damage as possible as it helps vehicle
             engineers confirm any damage where it appears non - existent e.g. modern cars with spring
             back bumpers that can mask damage.
    -   Did any person in either vehicle visibly move as a result of the impact?
    -   Was anything displaced in your vehicle?
    -   Did your seatbelt lock?
    -   What was the gap between the vehicles after the impact?
    -   Was there an audible bang or crunch?
    -   What was the reaction of your passengers / the Third Party driver and passengers immediately after
        the impact?
    -   Did you observe any suspicious behaviour from the other parties involved?  
    -   Did anyone complain of injury at the scene?

    This information is regularly used by defending solicitors in court which is why we want you to be forearmed by following these 12 points to help insurers defend claims and in turn control claims costs.

    HELPFUL DOCUMENTS

    UK Fraud Map

    Victory in Court

  • 2008 UK Broker Award
  • 2010 British Insurance Awards
  • 2011 UK Broker Award Finalist
  • 2013 UK Broker Award Winner
  • RAC
  • Aviva