Crash for cash and fake whiplash claims drive increase in fraudulent insurance claims

29 May 2018

Fraudulent insurance claims cost Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, £90 million last year; equivalent to £246,000 every day. The number of fraudulent claims it received also grew by 6.3% over the previous 12 months.

According to the insurance company, motor claims accounted for two-thirds (£59 million) of overall fraud – an increase of £9 million on 2016 with ‘cash for crash’ and fake whiplash claims collectively making up 66% of identified fraud.

Aviva says it now turns down one in eight whiplash claims which it suspects are fraudulent and is currently in the process of investigating close to 17,000 personal injury claims – 1,000 more than the same period last year.

Levels of organised motor fraud have fallen since 2016, nonetheless Aviva is still investigating some 3,000 cases which are thought to be linked to organised gangs. The reduction was also not enough to offset rising exaggerated personal injury claims resulting from crashes at low speeds.

Aviva says 80% of the fraud it detects is against its own customers and in order to bring fraudsters to justice, it works closely with police. During 2017, Aviva helped make 68 prosecutions resulting in a total of 143 years’ worth of prison sentences.

Commenting on the figures, Tom Gardiner, head of fraud at Aviva, says, “While it’s good news that the number of accidents is falling, we are still detecting more fraudulent claims than before. Whiplash fraud continues to present the biggest threat to customers – not just in terms of pushing premiums up, but by fraudsters putting innocent motorists at the risk of real harm by deliberately causing accidents to make bogus whiplash claims.” 

Many of the problems identified by Aviva should be addressed by the Civil Liability Bill that is currently going through parliament. If the proposed legislation gets the green light, the level of compensation available to personal injury claimants would fall and therefore reduce the incentive to commit fraud.

It is also hoped that it reduces the number of calls and texts from so-called ‘ambulance chasers’ that pursue personal insurance claims on your behalf in return for a slice of any pay out.

Mr Gardiner adds: “Change is urgently needed. The proposed Civil Liability Bill will deter fraudsters from pursuing their campaign of crash for cash, simply to line their pockets. The good news in the meantime is that we are detecting, disrupting and prosecuting more fraud.”


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

How many times over the last few years have i read this has been dealt with by govenment bodies and car insurance will reduce yet it is still as bad if not worse and car insurance still keeps rising. Time the government got the thing sorted once and for all. Anyone making a false chaim should be hit so hard they will never be able to afford to drive again, it should also put their family home and any posessions at risk of being confiscated, make it not worth taking such risks.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

A car hit my son's car recently, the driver of the other car admitted liability and the accident was seen by an independent witness too. Should have been a simple damage claim, but my son's insurers insisted on putting him in touch with a firm that dealt with personal accident claims who told him he could get additional cash as compensation for his jarred wrist. He had no intention of taking time off work and told them so, but already he has received a letter from a doctor asking him to attend an appointment next week. So, there are the completely fake accidents but there are also firms working in cahoots with insurance companies it would seem who are intent on milking even more from a simple collision.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I understood that the compulsory fitting of headrest was to prevent whiplash accidents so how come there are still claims being made?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Although I am sure there are lots of fraudulent claims , I was injured and it was described as whiplash in 2006. I am still injured but just wound up the claim because I couldn’t bare it dragging on. What I experienced was utterly corrupt in every aspect of the process. I am not surprised an industry has grown up around the process of claim and reward for all those involved.Albany assistance are the worst, doctors writing reports, solicitors acting for the injured, those supposedly treating the injured, car hire and vehicle storage. Vehicle recyclers, used parts sellers. As the professionals involved make up such a convincing argument with the threat of legal action, insurance businesses are obliged to believe or collude with them. So many are companies are involved I expect nothing can ever change.I was not impressed in 2006 and again about 10 years later when we were involved in another no fault claim.GB

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