Cash for Crash
The highly contentious issue of ‘crash for cash’ continues to pose a threat to businesses that operate company car, HGV and other vehicle fleets.
Ben Fletcher, Director at The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) recently stated that accidents caused deliberately to allow fraudsters to submit personal injury compensation claims “have a real impact on society by putting the lives of innocent people at risk and costing honest policy holders almost £400 million each year” (Chester Chronicle 1st April 2015).
The IFB is helping to spearhead the insurance industry’s response in tackling ‘crash for cash’. The organisation is working in partnership with police authorities and major businesses to bring perpetrators to justice.
The effectiveness of this approach was illustrated when cheats in Chester who staged seven accidents involving First Bus buses and who had filed over 200 claims were successfully prosecuted and found guilty at Manchester Crown Court.
A very real risk of prosecution
When interviewed shortly afterwards, Ben Fletcher explained “Today’s convictions rightfully reflect that the perception that insurance fraud is a ‘victimless crime’ and that insurers are somehow a ‘fair’ target is completely out-dated”.
“The message is clear - if you are committing fraud, the risk of being caught and prosecuted is very real. Insurance fraudsters face the prospect of heavy fines, a criminal record and imprisonment with potentially restricted access to financial services for the rest of their lives”.
In addition, the IFB’s Cheatline provides a free service that enables people to report anyone they suspect of having an involvement with ‘crash for cash’. Over 500 reports are made to Cheatline each month and information can be provided anonymously by calling 0800 422 0421 or online at www.insurancefraudbureau.org
Playing your part
Businesses can play an important role in combating ‘crash for cash’, maximising driver safety and controlling fleet costs. Where possible, company vehicles should be fitted with telematics technology such as smart witnesses that help to provide invaluable evidence.
Employees driving company vehicles should also be trained in how they can best avoid becoming a victim of ‘crash for cash’. Furthermore, the IFB has issued a list of three tell-tale signs that can assist employees in identifying fraudulent drivers if they are involved in a collision. Essentially, they should look out for:
• The other driver being too calm for someone who has been involved in a car accident.
• Them already having insurance details written down before the accident happened.
• Any injuries that appear to be completely out of proportion to the impact.
Please contact me for further information.