Fleet News

Crooks target lease vehicles in insurance scam

FLEETS are being warned to look out for gangs targeting leased vehicles in an insurance claims fraud which is costing the UK motorist about £40 million a year. Lease or rented cars are being identified by roving gangs through the company stickers in rear windows or names on number plates and once they see such a vehicle being driven on the road will pull in front of it in their own car and brake sharply causing a rear-end shunt.

The gang will then go through the normal procedure of getting the fleet driver's details and then submit an inflated claim to the company's insurers, sometimes claiming there were five people in the car who were all hurt with the aim of getting a payment towards injury treatment costs. The Association of British Insurers is working with the police around the country investigating a number of these 'scams'.

A recent operation in Bradford saw a gang convicted for carrying out this type of fraud. John Wagstaff, the ABI's crime and anti-fraud manager, said: 'It is estimated that vehicle scams, which include colliding with another vehicle or even taking a hire car and crashing it into the wall with everyone in it making a false injury claim, costs the industry between £35 million and £40 million a year. This is obviously putting pressure on premiums which the honest driver is having to fork out for.'

Wagstaff advised fleet drivers to always travel with a disposable camera for use in the event of a crash to record the damage to all the vehicles involved. 'It's surprising how quickly the claims 'disappear' once photographs are produced,' he said. The ABI has also set up a free phone line for people to report incidents of suspected fraud. The number is 0800 328 2550.

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