Crash-for-cash scams up 51% in 2013
Data released by insurance firm Aviva has revealed that fraudulent crash-for-cash scams in the UK rose by 51% in 2013, leading the insurer to call for stronger punishments for those found guilty of fraudulent compensation claims.
In 2013, Aviva, who insure around 1 in 10 cars in Britain, registered over 6,000 falsified personal injury claims as a result of a motor injury, totalling £10m in compensation fraud - the highest level ever recorded by the insurer. As a result of the findings, Aviva has said current UK Government regulations were not stringent enough to halt the rapidly increasing number of fraudulent road accident claims in the UK.
What are crash-for-cash scams?
It is widely accepted in the motor industry that anyone who drives into the back of another motor vehicle is at fault, and it is this acceptance which the fraudsters are exploiting. According to Aviva, in most cases, the scams are organised by gangs who target innocent motorists whom they consider less likely to make a fuss: elderly drivers, families with young children and motorists with well-maintained cars.
The scams usually see the fraudsters brake suddenly in front of their victim, leaving the victim with very little option but to crash into the rear of their vehicle; there have even been reports of fraudsters disconnecting their brake lights so that the car behind has no indication that they’re braking.
Aviva calls for more action for guilty parties
Aviva believes that while it’s a good start to see courts now allowed to throw out claims they feel are fundamentally dishonest, and to see the UK Government fighting compensation fraud through the creation of accredited doctor panels, too many guilty parties are given community orders or fines rather than custodial sentences, which does little to stop re-offending.
Insurance fraud is believed by many insurers to add around £50 to the cost of a typical premium, and the increasing number of crash-for-cash scams means that this number is only expected to rise unless stricter measures and sentences are put into place. Aviva has said that there is strong support from the public for tougher sentences, and revealed that their poll of 2000 motorists, 66% wanted stronger sentences, with custodial sentences the most favoured punishment.
Tom Gardiner, head of claims fraud at Aviva, said:
"The fast growth of induced accidents on our roads is cause for serious concern. Fraudsters are prepared to put the safety of innocent motorists and their families and passengers at risk for their own personal gain".
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