Warn­ing as more fraud­sters tar­get mo­torists

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - Ben Ec­cle­ston Crime re­porter ben. ec­cle­ston@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

COVEN­TRY has been named as one of the coun­try’s hotspots for “crash for cash” in­ci­dents which see fraud­sters make claims for fake or staged crashes.

The city moved in to the top ten crash for cash lo­ca­tions last year, with Birm­ing­ham tak­ing the top spot, ac­cord­ing to in­sur­ers Aviva.

They de­tected more than 3,000 false claims na­tion­ally - or one ev­ery three hours.

The fig­ures in­clude in­duced ac­ci­dents where driv­ers de­lib­er­ately tar­get in­no­cent mo­torists to claim whiplash com­pen­sa­tion, as well as staged ac­ci­dents, when two dam- aged cars are brought to­gether to make it look like an ac­ci­dent.

They de­clined to give out spe­cific fig­ures for how many in­ci­dents took place in Coven­try last year.

Aviva said in­duced ac­ci­dent num­bers re­main “wor­ry­ingly” close to record lev­els seen in 2014, with the num­ber of cases fall­ing by just two per cent in 2015.

Mean­while, there has been a dra­matic 40 per cent yearon- year fall in staged ac­ci­dents, which the in­surer says is partly down to mea­sures put in place to make it harder for fraud­sters to take out a pol­icy with the in­surer in the first place.

One in nine whiplash claims sub­mit­ted to Aviva is tainted by fraud, the in­surer said, and they cur­rently have more than 17,000 sus­pi­cious whiplash claims un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, with 4,000 mo­tor in­jury claims linked to known fraud rings.

Tom Gar­diner, head of fraud at Aviva, said: “In­duced ac­ci­dents now ac­count for nearly half of all or­gan­ised mo­tor fraud we de­tect.

“Crash for cash does not just push up pre­mi­ums for gen­uine cus­tomers, it puts in­no­cent mo­torists at risk.

“It is also a sig­nif­i­cant drain on scarce pub­lic re­sources such as am­bu­lance, police and A& E time, all of which are wasted on these en­tirely bo­gus claims. How­ever, as our fig­ures show, we are get­ting bet­ter at de­tect­ing, de­clin­ing and prose­cut­ing these claims - but ur­gent re­form is needed to re­move the root cause of the prob­lem, which is easy ac­cess to com­pen­sa­tion and prof­its. We urge mo­torists to re­main alert to in­duced ac­ci­dents, es­pe­cially in those ar­eas where we know this is a prob­lem.”

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