‘Crash for Cash’ scams double in 2013

‘Crash for cash’ car insurance scams double in 2013

By Simon Gompertz
Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

The crash in this video was caused deliberately to try to claim compensation, as Simon Gompertz reports

Cities top ‘crash for cash’ league
84 ‘crash for cash’ accused in court
“Crash for cash” car insurance scams rose by 51% last year, according to one of the UK’s biggest motor insurers.

Aviva, which insures one in 10 of the cars in the UK, detected about 820 “induced accidents” in 2013.

These faked accidents led to around 2,200 fraudulent claims for personal injury, according to Aviva.

It is calling for harsher sentences for the fraudsters, complaining that the most common punishment is a community order.

Typically, the accidents are caused deliberately by gangs who put in claims for whiplash compensation.

Aviva says that the number of suspicious accidents is likely to be much higher than the hundreds its fraud team has discovered.

The cost of the compensation is borne by honest motor insurance customers through increased premiums.

The company has issued a video showing one crash-for-cash incident, filmed by a camera installed in its customer’s vehicle.

Two drivers in front stop suddenly, forcing the car behind to crash into the rear of one of the vehicles.

It is thought that a growing crackdown on speculative whiplash claims is prompting criminals to create real accidents, where they can point to more convincing evidence.

Insurers are sharing information on claimants and working more closely with police.

Aviva says that the risk of motorists being killed as a result of induced accidents is increasing.

The company is dealing with more than 6,000 suspicious injury claims of various kinds linked to known fraud rings.

It is warning drivers to be more vigilant at junctions and crossings, where many of the accidents occur.

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Welcome Tracy Little

We are delighted to welcome Tracy Little to Team Irvine. Tracy is providing cover for Elaine who leaves us shortly on maternity leave. Tracy will primarily support John as well as assisting the rest of The Broking Team as necessary.

She joins us from Towergate who have recently announced that administration of small business will no longer be provided locally.

Away from work Tracy has a son due to start senior school this autumn and professes to being a ‘Blue Nose’

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Another champagne moment

Tina Kilbee is presented with a bottle of champagne by Steve Sawrey. Tina was the second prize winner following the recent wedding fayre in Warwick.
If only Steve knew how to take a decent selfie he would be in the picture!
Good luck to Tina who is marrying her partner in Cyprus in September 2015.
Weddings are so expensive. Protect your day with insurance. Call Claire Neale 024 7621 0230 cneale@icib.co.uk

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Champagne Wedding

Claire Neale presents Gabrielle Robbins of Orangery Florists in Kenilworth with a bottle of champagne. Gabrielle recently attended The Wedding Fayre in Warwick and entered our prize draw. Good luck to Gabrielle and her partner getting married in August on the shores of Lake Como.

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Insurance Fraud reaches record level

Insurance fraud at record high, says ABI

Motorists are having to pay higher insurance premiums as a result of false claims

Fake car crashes helped to push the level of insurance fraud to a record £1.3bn in 2013, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The figure represents an increase of 18% on the previous year.

The biggest rise was in car insurance. The number of dishonest motor claims rose by 34% to 59,900, attempting to cheat the industry out of £811m.

The ABI said fraud was now costing each household in the UK an extra £50 a year, through increased premiums.

Pet fraud
So-called “crash for cash” car insurance scams helped to contribute to the record figures.

That is when fraudsters stage a car crash, for example by slamming their brakes on at a road junction, often having disabled the brake lights.

An unsuspecting motorist then crashes into the back of the first car.

The fraudsters have witnesses on hand to show that the crash was the other driver’s fault, enabling them to make an insurance claim for the damage, as well as whiplash injuries.

In one case in County Durham last year, 60 people were convicted for one of the UK’s largest “crash for cash” frauds.

As many as 25 accidents were staged in the Consett area, and resulted in local residents having to pay an extra £100 on their premiums.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau is investigating 110 cases of “crash for cash”
In other cases a professional golfer claimed £8,000 for an injured knee, but was later filmed giving golf lessons.

A vet was also jailed for trying to claim £200,000 in connection with the “treatment” of non-existent pets.

However, while the value of attempted fraud went up, the number of fraudulent claims overall went down.

The scale of property insurance fraud also fell – down 38% by value on 2012.

The ABI says the recorded level of insurance fraud is increasing because more people are reporting it and more resources are being used to fight it.

The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, a specialist police unit, has helped to prosecute 85 people since it was established in 2011.

The industry also funds the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), which was set up in 2006 to specifically tackle false motor policy claims.

It is currently investigating 110 “crash for cash” schemes across the country.

Malcolm Tarling of the ABI told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme insurers were getting better at detecting fraudulent claims.

But he added: “Everyone pays for fraud. We estimate that across the country fraud adds £50 a year to the average family’s insurance bill – that’s £50 more than people should be paying.

“This is why the industry is investing over £230m a year in tackling fraud.

“The number of detected frauds is rising; that’s because we are getting better at detecting staged accidents. We are going to continue to tackle fraud – that’s what our honest customers expect us to do.”

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Driving abroad this Summer?

Driving Abroad
Consumer advice on driving abroad during the holiday season
With many consumers choosing to drive aboard during their holidays, BIBA is offering the following advice to ensure that consumers stay within the law and stay safe:

To help reduce the chances of breaking down, have your car serviced before you take it abroad
Contact your broker or insurer to make sure that you have adequate cover for driving abroad. Some companies limit comprehensive cover to a fixed number of days abroad in one trip
Make sure you take your driving licence, vehicle ownership and motor insurance certificate with you when driving abroad
Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the motoring laws of the country you will be driving in by checking with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In some countries you are required to keep emergency items, such as a warning triangle, first aid kit and/or fluorescent jacket in the vehicle at all times
Make sure that your emergency medical and travel insurance are up to date.

Click here to download European Health Insurance Card

Make sure your insurance is valid. Call us 024 7621 0230

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Car crime increases in hot weather. Tips to prevent your car from being stolen

Crime – hot weather
In hot weather there could be a dramatic increase in the number of cars being stolen as owners leave their vehicles unattended with their windows or roofs open. Motorists that fail to take precautions to secure their vehicles could invalidate their insurance policies if either their car or items inside are stolen.
Graeme Trudgill, BIBA’s Head of Corporate Affairs, says: “Cars are becoming increasingly difficult to steal thanks to advanced security systems and immobilisers but during the summer months opportunistic thieves will be keeping an eye out for vehicles that are left open and unattended.

“Motorists must be aware that if their vehicle or possessions are stolen under such circumstances, insurers may not pay out as policies include a ‘reasonable care’ clause, whereby the insurer may reject a claim on the grounds of the policyholder being ‘reckless’ in not safeguarding the vehicle. Most policies also have a “keys in car “ or “vehicle left unattended” clause which exclude claims in these circumstances. “

To help reduce your chances of being a victim of car crime, BIBA offers motorists the following advice:

Never leave windows open or convertible roofs down when the car is unoccupied
Don’t leave your doors unlocked when leaving the vehicle
Never leave the keys in the ignition when you are not driving the car
Park in well-lit areas as this could deter thieves
Never leave valuables on display whilst you are driving or when you leave the vehicle

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Wedding Insurance

If you know anyone planning a wedding then we can provide insurance to provide peace of mind for their special day from as little as £35
Contact Claire Neale for more information.

Pictured Jo Lapworth and Claire Neale at The Wedding Fayre in Warwick on 9th and 10th May

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Coventry Insurance Institute Deputy President

Following the recent AGM of The Insurance Institute of Coventry, Steve Sawrey has been elected to serve as Deputy President. Steve is now the longest serving member of Council and was previously The President in 1999. He will also continue as Secretary for the next 12 months.
Steve has also served as an examiner and moderator for The Chartered Insurance Institute in the past.

Steve says ‘there are a number of younger members of Council who can take The Institute forward in the future. Following the resignation of the previous Deputy President and the agreement of the current President to serve a second term, it was felt some stability was required. Other senior members put my name forward and I am delighted to accept’

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Car Insurance Premiums fall in First Quarter 2014

Car insurance premiums ‘fall by £100 at start of year’

The AA said fraudulent claims could push up the price of motoring insurance

Car insurance premiums have decreased sharply with the average price falling by more than £100 for the first three months of the year, figures suggest.

The AA said the average comprehensive motor insurance figure was £531 at the start of 2014.

This was 5.6% down on the last three months of 2013 and 16.6% down on the figure for the same period last year.

The figure for third party, fire and theft was £725, down 8.4% on the past three months and 18.5% on last year.

Young drivers, who have to pay the most for comprehensive insurance, experienced the biggest falls in premiums in the first part of this year, coming down by a fifth.

The north-west of England saw the biggest fall at 21% compared with East Anglia with the least at 13%.

‘Premiums to rise’
However, the AA warned that the downward trend could be under threat.

AA insurance director Simon Douglas said: “Legal reforms introduced by the justice ministry to curb organised attempts at whiplash injury fraud coupled with better fraud detection by insurers have also certainly helped put downward pressure on premiums.

“But despite this there is no evidence that this is delivering any significant reduction in the number and value of personal injury claims.”

He added: “I do expect premiums to start rising again this year unless the fraud issue can be dealt with.

“If not, it’s likely to be young drivers, those with a poor claims history or those in localities where there are frequent claims who will find it most difficult to obtain competitive cover.”

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are turning the tide on the compensation culture and doing our bit to help drivers with the cost of running a car.

“We have made major law changes which have been a significant factor in these record falls in car insurance premiums.

“But we want to do more, and we are now going after the fraudsters who force up the costs for everyone else.”

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