6th November 2014
Crash for cash – road traffic accidents deliberately caused in order to claim whiplash compensation are at an all-time high according to Aviva.
The insurer claimed that organised gangs are at the heart of the increase in the number of these induced accidents and in 2014 it has witnessed a 21% increase in such fraud over 2013, contributing to the record number of fraudulent motor claims.
In fact more than 50% of the group’s motor injury claims fraud is now organised in nature and the insurer now has over 6,500 suspicious injury claims linked to known fraud rings.
The latest view from Aviva of where organised gangs induce motor accidents reveals Birmingham and Greater London are the UK’s crash for cash hotspots. In the past, the northwest – particularly Manchester – has been the focal point for crash for cash activity. However, a number of successful operations and prosecutions in that area, as well as the expansion of organised fraud in other areas of the UK, is changing that picture.
Top 10 Postcodes for Crash for Cash by number of accidents:
Aviva is asking the Government to look at treating minor whiplash injuries with rehabilitation, instead of cash compensation as it believes this would remove the motivation for fraudsters to deliberately cause accidents in order to make a claim, as well as protect innocent motorists and help keep premiums low for customers.
Tom Gardiner, head of claims fraud for Aviva’s UK and Ireland General Insurance business, said: “Crash for cash is not just a financial problem – it’s a serious social problem. No other form of insurance fraud puts the public at risk of serious injury.
“Imagine you’re driving the kids to school when the car in front slams on their brakes without warning, leaving you no chance of avoiding a crash. These deliberate accidents are on the increase, putting innocent motorists at risk simply so the driver in front can get cash compensation. Last year Aviva found these accidents increased by 51%, and they are continuing to grow. Part of the growth is coming as fraudsters are moving away from a small number of “hot spot” locations to a much wider footprint.”
Crash for cash also adds an estimated £400m to the cost of car insurance – or around £14 on every motor insurance premium. Gardiner continued, “We are urging motorists to remain alert to crash for cash, especially in those areas where we know this is a problem.”