‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters are “gambling with the lives of UK motorists” and costing honest policyholders nearly £400 million every year, according to a new report published today by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).
Established to clamp down on Crash for Cash’ scams, the IFB links one in seven personal injury claims (69,500) to organised fraud in its new report, ‘Crash for Cash – putting the brakes on fraud’. The report urges members of the public to blow the whistle on ‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters by calling the Cheatline – powered by Crimestoppers – anonymously, on 0800 422 0421.
David Neave, chairman of the IFB, said: “Fraudsters don’t just scam the insurance industry; they pick the pocket of every honest policyholder whose premiums increase to cover the costs of fraud. But in ‘Crash for Cash’, insurance fraud poses even starker risks to society. Fraudsters motivated by greed are gambling with the lives of innocent motorists by deliberately causing crashes up and down the country.
“Criminal gangs organising multi-million pound ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are also using the profits of their fraud to fund other crimes plaguing our society, including illegal firearms, drug dealing and people trafficking. Far from being a victimless crime, insurance fraud is serious and something we all need to be wary of.”
The IFB is currently coordinating 40 live police operations across the UK, investigating and dismantling criminal gangs organising ‘Crash for Cash’ scams worth £66.6 million in potential loses to insurers.
DCI Dave Wood, head of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) – a dedicated police unit tackling insurance fraudsters across the UK – said: “‘Crash for Cash’ is a crime this country can ill-afford, putting innocent drivers at risk on our roads and leaving honest policyholders out of pocket.
“IFED’s first year in operation has found that although methods can vary, the objective remains the same, with organised crime groups stopping at nothing in their attempts to con insurers out of tens of thousands of pounds per incident.
“The IFB’s report sheds light on the murky world of ‘Crash for Cash’, spelling out the clear threats it continues to pose to the public and assisting the work IFED are doing to bring those responsible to justice.”
Craig Budsworth, chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) said: “The Insurance Fraud Bureau report makes astonishing reading and confirms exactly what we have suspected for some time - that organised criminal gangs are responsible for 1 in 7 personal injury claims relating to motor accidents. According to a recent report, injury claims came down nearly 25,000 last year and this could be nearly tripled by stamping out fraud.
The report also confirms that the vast majority of whiplash claims are legitimate and any future action to combat fraud by the Ministry of Justice must protect these accident victims.
Every support must be given to the authorities to ensure that these 40 or so criminal gangs are brought to justice as soon as possible to protect innocent accident victims. Regulators have insufficient resources to help combat this crime and so it's vital we all work together. The industry needs a collaborative approach to stamp out this type of crime and MASS looks forward to working with the IFB and the ABI on data sharing at an early stage.
MASS have suggested a range of solutions to tackle fraud. No medical, no damages would substantially reduce the opportunity for fraud and action must be taken on this.”