UK motorists picking up the bill for claims scams


Cash for crash fraudsters are costing policyholders almost £400m every year, according to a report published today by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

The cash for crash phenomenon sees criminal gangs deliberately causing crashes with motorists and faking accidents across the UK to make fraudulent insurance claims.

Fraudsters make money from the crashes by submitting exaggerated claims, including personal injury and loss of earnings, car hire and damage repair, and even claims for bogus passengers.

The cost is then passed on to policyholders through increased premiums.

In its new report, Crash for Cash - putting the brakes on fraud, the IFB links one in seven personal injury claims (69,500) to organised fraud.

IFB chairman David Neave said: “Fraudsters don’t just scam the insurance industry; they pick the pocket of every honest policyholder whose premiums increase to cover the costs of fraud. But in ‘crash for cash’, insurance fraud poses even starker risks to society. Fraudsters motivated by greed are gambling with the lives of innocent motorists by deliberately causing crashes up and down the country.

“Criminal gangs organising multimillion-pound cash for crash scams are also using the profits of their fraud to fund other crimes plaguing society, including illegal firearms, drug-dealing and people trafficking. Far from being a victimless crime, insurance fraud is serious and something we all need to be wary of.”

The IFB is currently co-ordinating 40 police operations across the UK, investigating criminal gangs organising cash for crash scams worth £66.6m in potential losses to insurers.

The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department’s (IFED) head DCI Dave Wood, said: “Cash for crash is a crime this country can ill afford, putting innocent drivers at risk on our roads and leaving honest policyholders out of pocket.

“IFED’s first year in operation has found that although methods can vary, the objective remains the same, with organised crime groups stopping at nothing in their attempts to con insurers out of tens of thousands of pounds per incident.

“The IFB’s report sheds light on the murky world of cash for crash, spelling out the clear threats it continues to pose to the public and assisting the work IFED are doing to bring those responsible to justice.”