Clamping down on "crash for cash"
The rate of reported fatal road accidents in the UK has dropped by 40% in the last fifty years; thankfully our roads continue to become safer year on year. Despite the huge advancement in collision preventative measures, the motor insurance industry, worth an estimated £9.4billion, now faces an entirely new problem. Risking their own safety as well as that of not-at-fault drivers, irresponsible individuals are now purposefully seeking collisions in an insurance scandal that’s sweeping the nation. With a reported 50% rise in ‘crash for cash’ claims the motor industry faces its biggest crisis in modern times; how do we face this challenge head on?
With the scandal hitting the LCV headlines recently, it has been identified that insurers are uncovering 865 dishonest motor insurance claims every week, worth a staggering £10.4m, something that it is suggested will be lessened with the introduction of in-vehicle cameras. As a major LCV operator, we haven’t come away unscathed, with a large proportion of our fleet marrying up with the most affected vehicles; the Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Vauxhall Vivaro, Citroen Berlingo, Volkswagen Transporter and Tippers account for 31% of induced claims.
And, with one in seven personal injury claims being linked to a suspected organised "crash for cash" scam, we want to assure our customers that we’re doing everything in our power to clamp down!
The majority of our vehicles are hired out on a customer’s own insurance, so our largest exposure emanates from our daily hire customers and staff. During the past 12 months, the Insurance Department has, unfortunately, identified approximately nine possible fraudulent claims with potential reserves totalling £150k. Every vehicle allegedly involved in a crash for cash incident brings its own individual issues both operationally and financially through the investigations and management time invested to validate the claim; this cost is incurred by both our insurers and ourselves.
If it’s established that our customer is believed to be involved in the fraudulent act, we would take the matter incredibly seriously and work with our insurers to appropriately identify and handle these fraudulent claims. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to suspected crash for cash incidents.
Insurers have sophisticated software and technology alongside access to fraud databases listing individuals and organisations associated with such activities. Details of accident circumstance and alleged damage are all indicators to potential fraud and are just two of the factors considered by insurers. If our customer is an innocent party in such an incident they will be assured that our team (and the insurers’ team) will make every effort to establish the full facts surrounding the claim and, where appropriate, take the necessary action against the parties involved.
Essentially, we want to help others in the industry break the crash for cash cycle but, in order to do so, we rely upon the intelligence gathering and data analysis of these third parties. However, we also need our customers to be aware of the scandal and notify us of any claims as soon as possible. If anyone believes they’ve been involved in a crash for cash incident, just contact us immediately. And please spread the word amongst your colleagues who might operate their vehicles through their own insurance, so we can help to clamp down on crash for cash once and for all.