The Worrying Proliferation Of Fraudulent Insurance And Compensation Claims
At the weekend, the BBC reported that a disturbing trend is arising: the number of
both fraudulent insurance and compensation claims is on the rise: they estimate that a staggering 30,000 accidents that occurred in England and Wales last year were dishonestly staged.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) estimates that, due to this activity, GBP44 is added the cost of every insurance policy in the UK: and the industry incurs total costs of GBP350 million. The claims these dishonest drivers submit average around GBP17,000.
The accidents are caused on purpose, in order for the crooked driver to submit an insurance claim against the other motorist. The nature of the crashes, in which the dishonest driver is in front before suddenly braking and causing the collision, usually ensures the blame is apportioned to the driver behind, as in nearly all cases a driver that strikes the rear of another vehicle automatically assumes they were at fault.
The 'crash for cash' driver, usually working in tandem with other sophisticated criminals, gains the insurance details of the shell-shocked victim, who ironically think they have caused the collision, and then uses them to submit a highly-inflated claim. The criminal chooses his victim carefully.
Sgt Mark Beales of Greater Manchester Police, in the BBC report, said: "What these fraudsters tend to pick on are people who are single mums or elderly people, people who are less likely to cause them any issues. They also target drivers of commercial vehicles, because drivers tend not to care as much if they're not driving their own vehicle," he said.
In one instance, to lend weight to his claim, a driver that caused a minor shunt called the fire brigade to have his passenger cut out of the car, even though the apparently lethally injured person in question was actually out of the car and walking about when the fire service arrived.
This abhorrent practice caught out an elderly couple, the Gallanders, from Manchester, who were driving their Nissan Micra home from visiting their son in hospital when they crossed a roundabout and were struck by 24 year old Abdullah Ahmed's Lexus.
Ahmed filed an insurance claim against them, even though neither car was seriously damaged, and also made a compensation claim for personal injury. He also alleged that his car was in storage and also claimed the fees for that from the Gallanders.
Abdullah was caught when it became apparent that his Lexus was not in storage at all: in fact it was being mysteriously involved in other accidents in the area.
He also accused the Gallanders of racially abusing him. Quite why he felt the need to do this is unknown, unless he felt he may gain some pecuniary advantage by being awarded compensation. He admitted in court that that aspect of the story had been completely fabricated, and was jailed for two years.
This story comes on the back of the convictions of brothers Rehan and Rezwan Javed from Burnley, Lancashire, last month for orchestrating such accidents through their business, North West Claims. The brothers built up a network of crooked practitioners: drivers are paid a commission to cause the crashes, as is the person who provides their vehicle. Dishonest doctors can fabricate injuries to validate compensation claims, and the list goes on.
The IFB advises any driver who suspects they may have been the victim of a staged accident to remain calm, and crucially, not to admit liability. Even though the accepted wisdom is that the driver behind is at fault in a rear-end shunt, it is not an automatic presumption. Often, crash-for-cash drivers disconnect their brake lights or use their handbrakes to increase the likelihood of the person behind hitting them. Clearly, in this case, the driver behind is blameless.
by: Richard Craig
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