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Crash-for-cash incidents at record levels

The firm says that it has detected over 6,000 motor injury claims linked to organised fraud activity with a value of over £10m.

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. Fraudulent accidents also divert significant public resources such as police, ambulances, emergency services and court time away from real need.

‘We believe that convictions for motor injury fraud resulting from induced accidents should result in more custodial sentences that recognise the unique physical harm that this form of insurance fraud poses to motorists, as well as the wider social costs. Stronger sentences will deter would-be fraudsters and help to keep roads safer and premiums lower for customers.’

Tragically, at least one motorist has been killed as a result of being caught up in an accident deliberately caused by fraudsters, and this risk seems to be increasing.

Yet, data from the Sentencing Council reveals that community orders were the most common sentence handed out for fraud offences since 2004. Aviva believes this does little to deter crash for cash fraudsters from committing – and re-committing – induced accidents.

Aviva said it welcomes recent measures from Justice Secretary Chris Grayling which will help to crack down on insurance fraudsters.

There is also strong support from the public for fraud convictions to attract stronger sentences. In consumer research, two out of three (66%) respondents supported stronger sentences for convictions of motor injury fraud, while almost 9 in 10 (87%) felt custodial sentences sent the strongest message.

Gardiner concluded: ‘The reach of crash for cash doesn't stop at the scene of the accident, but impacts a wider circle of victims. Stronger deterrents, such as those announced by the Ministry of Justice, as well as more proportionate sentencing that recognises the very real threat of physical harm to the victim, will serve to further deter fraudsters, protect the public and keep premiums low for customers.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.