Fleet News

Beware of new accident scam

CRIMINAL gangs are targeting fleets as part of a new crimewave sweeping Britain in which drivers fall victim to staged motor accidents.

Insurance experts say commercial fleets are being deliberately targeted by the gangs because they then perceive it as a victimless crime.

The fraudsters stage a deliberate accident, often by disconnecting their own brake lights so unwary motorists drive into the back of them. They then greatly exaggerate their insurance claims in a number of ways, including adding non-existent passengers to the claim.

The growing problem is costing more than £1.5 billion a year, adding 5% to policyholders’ insurance premiums.

A spokesman for the Fraud Investigation Team at insurance company Norwich Union said: ‘The trend is towards the fraudsters targeting predominantly larger commercial fleets, those that have marked vehicles. They see targeting such fleets as a victim-free crime, affecting an organisation rather than a person. It’s worrying.’

Insurance giant Royal & SunAlliance has issued a series of tips that drivers should act on if they believe they have been involved in a staged or deliberate accident.

R&SA’s UK counter-fraud manager John Beadle, an ex-Metropolitan police detective superintendent, said: ‘Staged motor accidents are on the rise and are potentially extremely dangerous. Not only do they cost honest drivers millions of pounds each year, but they also put innocent motorists in danger. We urge people to take note of our guidelines in the event that they may become victims of this crime.’

Beadle, who recently became chairman of the new Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), created by insurers to clamp down on such crime, added: ‘There are usually some tell-tale signs that you have been involved in a fraudulent collision. Motorists should pay extra attention to people braking suddenly in front of them for no apparent reason or otherwise driving erratically.’

  • Have any of your drivers fallen victim to an insurance scam? If so, let us know by emailing fleetnews@emap.com

    What to tell your drivers

  • If you suspect you have been involved in a staged accident, do not say anything other than ‘it is a matter for our insurance companies’.
  • If anyone is injured, call the police.
  • Take as many pictures as possible of the accident, including the driver, passengers, vehicle and any damage.
  • The identity of the driver is crucial so take a good description.
  • Establish how many passengers are in the other car and take a good description of them.
  • Try to find an independent witness for the accident but be wary of any witnesses quick to offer their services as they may be corrupt.
  • Take note of any other cars involved, including damage and registration numbers.
  • Be wary of any companies that contact you quickly, offering to repair your car, unless they are through your insurance company.
  • If you suspect the accident was intentional, inform your insurance company at the earliest opportunity.
  • If you know of anyone involved in staging accidents, call the IFB Cheatline on 0800 328 2550.

  • Source: Royal & SunAlliance
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