Legal experts are backing the adoption of video technology by fleets to help in the fight against fraud, as a new camera telematics product is launched this month.
The Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) told Fleet News that it would be a positive move to see technologies, such as in-vehicle cameras, used more frequently.
MASS chairman Craig Budsworth said: “Their ability to help identify exactly what has happened at the scene of an accident could prove an excellent tool in fighting fraudulent motor accident claims.
“The industry needs to come together in supporting these innovative technologies that can be tools in deterring bogus insurance claims and in-cab cameras are certainly one
The backing from MASS comes in the wake of high-profile crash-for-cash convictions where CCTV footage of the incident, supplied by Towergate Insurance, was instrumental in exposing the scam.
The insurance industry is already starting to embrace the technology, with some insurers promising premium discounts of up to 10% against a new system being launched by iCapture.
The ISIS telematics device integrates a law enforcement level camera, a tracker and telematics capability within one product, said iCapture managing director Adam McCrum.
The product captures exception data and video, and can send it to insurers’ and/or the transport manager’s email accounts.
McCrum said: “If there is an accident, our system captures all the information and within 15 seconds that information is on the transport manager’s or insurer’s desk. The early notification can cut fraud and credit-hire costs and improve accident management.”
He added that the unit, which costs the same as a standard vehicle tracking or telematics device, will achieve a rapid return on investment as a cost reduction tool.
McCrum said in addition to all the standard tracking and driver behaviour information offered by telematics, ISIS has watermarked and encrypted video of incidents, with time and date embedded, and tamper-proof recording as it is uploaded to the cloud, rather than downloaded from a SIM-card.
It has full 3G remote access. It also captures one minute of video either side of an incident, as opposed to the standard 15 seconds, in order to give full context.
The cost of fraudulent motor claims has undergone a record rise, according to the Association of British Insurers, and costs the industry £392 million a year.
Research from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has shown that the UK is now the whiplash capital of Europe. Eight out of 10 personal injury claims following road traffic accidents are now for alleged whiplash, more than twice the average of France, Spain and the Netherlands.
Every week insurers are uncovering 865 dishonest motor insurance claims, worth £10.4m. In 2011, 45,000 motor insurance claims were found to be fraudulent and the industry saved £541m by identifying such fraud.
McCrum said the ISIS product took two-and-a-half years and £300,000 to develop and is based on patented technology.
The retail price is £489 with up to £10 per month per vehicle data access costs. However, iCapture is making it available to insurers for £289 and will negotiate with fleets.
The capital cost of units is paid up-front, but McCrum said it will look at aggregating this into a monthly cost.
“At present we deal with Marsh UK, one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, QBE Europe Insurance Worldwide, One Insurance Solution (The Brightside Group), Active Fleet Solutions, City Inter-rent – part of the Sixt rental group – and Blue Poppy Vehicle Solutions,” said McCrum. “We are also talking to Infiniti Fleet Reading.”
Kevin Davies, managing director of brokerage One Insurance Solution recommends the product to insurers and clients. “We are looking at it for our taxi clients,” he said, noting that taxis are subject to fraudulent claims and also need a high level of driver and passenger safety.
“We will also suggest it to fleets to control costs. We’ve already been in touch with two insurers who have approved the product, and one of them, Tradex, will give a 10% reduction for clients who install this product.”
One Insurance Solution is also funding trials of the ISIS product in companies local to its head office in Devon.
Budsworth concluded: “While we support these technologies it is important that they are not seen as a panacea in the fight against fraud.
“If the industry is serious about fighting fraud we must work together to better educate society about the true cost of making fraudulent and exaggerated claims.”