Whiplash claim scam exposed
It has emerged that an investigation by a media source claims to have exposed a major cash-for-crash insurance con in the Midlands.
Undercover reporters allege that a Woverhampton-based team faked car accidents by smashing up their vehicles in a yard to receive money from whiplash claims.
In return for a fee, the journalists agreed to admit liability for an “accident” and handed over their vehicle to be used in a scam in which another driver would submit a personal injury claim plus costs.
The gang leader then allegedly coached the journalists on what to say to their insurers, giving the precise time of the “accident” and warning them not to report before it had occurred.
However, what the criminal gang did not realise was that the reporter was working in conjunction with fraud experts at RSA, who eventually received a claim from the supposed driver of the other vehicle, for whiplash injuries for driver and passenger, plus hire car costs.
According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, around £44 of every motor insurance premium results from this kind of scam.
Chairman of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), John Beadle, commented on such claims: “Wrapped up in the claim will be bodily injury, normally whiplash, plus storage of the vehicle, removal of the vehicle from the scene. When you take all these together the cost of this kind of a claim could well be around £20,000.”
Driver jailed for car crime
In related news, a man has been jailed for four-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to his involvement in a crash scandal.
The man appeared before Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court and admitted his part in a £1.6 million ‘crash for cash’ fraud scheme.
The man pleaded guilty to 17 charges, including dangerous driving, disqualified driving and conspiracy to defraud.
A resident of Bolton at the time of his offences, he specialised in low speed non-fault crashes at roundabouts, charging £500 for each crash and spending his illegal profits on luxury cars and holidays.
Between 2005 and 2008, he staged at least 93 motor vehicle “accidents” in and around Greater Manchester, which cost insurers an average £17,000 in bogus damages per incident.
Owners of the vehicles driven by the man then filed for accident claims, courtesy cars, legal fees and the like from the other party’s insurers.
The con was eventually uncovered by office workers at Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, who observed that the man was frequently involved in minor road accidents at a nearby roundabout, and reported their suspicions of “crash for cash” fraud.
Martin Milliner a technical claims director from an insurance firm, commented that whilst drivers have the right to file a genuine compensation claim, those who commit fraud ruin it for all motorists.
“Genuine cases of personal injury where another person or company is at fault are certainly cause for compensation.
“However, drivers who invent or exaggerate their injuries to make a claim not only break the law but also push up the cost of car insurance premiums for all motorists,” he stated.