Insurance Fraud News: A month in the headlines

At Quoteline Direct we keep a close eye on the media and like to stay on top of what’s happening in the insurance world. The past 30 days have been a bad month for fraudsters; so we decided to take a closer look at how the industry is getting tough on insurance cheats: 

Britain’s biggest ‘crash-for-cash’ scam busted

‘Crash-for-cash’ insurance scams are never far from the headlines and some fraudsters just don’t know when to stop. A recent case in Cardiff is thought to be the country’s biggest crash-for-cash fraud involving a hire car which hit a bus packed with planted passengers. CCTV footage on the bus showed the car in question passing the bus a number of times before the low impact rear collision. The same footage showed just one passenger falling over and when the paramedics arrived they found no medical treatment was necessary. Nevertheless, seven passengers later submitted whiplash claims adding-up to £50,000. Fraud investigators knew something wasn’t right and found two of the passengers were already social media friends with the car driver and the eight ended-up in court. Commenting on the case an investigator for the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department said, “By planning the bus crash, the men deliberately put the safety of innocent people, including children, at risk in a bid to make money and take advantage of the personal injury claims system.” The driver of the car was given a 12-month jail sentence and banned from driving for two years and the passengers were given suspended sentences and community service.

Holiday sickness fraudsters are sent to jail

The ongoing clampdown on whiplash fraud has been widely praised by the motoring public, but it has had one unexpected side effect. Tighter legislation may have deterred fraudsters from making bogus car insurance claims, but they haven’t given-up completely and there’s recently been a rise in fake food poisoning claims. Suspicious claims for holiday sickness have skyrocketed by 500% since 2013 and honest holidaymakers are left to pick-up the bill. While the travel industry lobbies the government to take action; one provider has taken two fraudsters to court resulting in a landmark decision. A couple who claimed their family fell ill twice in Majorca (and sought compensation of £20,000) were found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 9 and 15 months in jail. Their defence wasn’t helped by a social media post bragging their holidays were packed with “sun, laughter and fun”.

Personal injury scammer spotted bungy jumping

You don’t need to search hard to find stories of short-sighted insurance fraudsters getting caught-out by bragging on social media, but few get rumbled on national TV. However, one fraudster recently found herself in the spotlight having claimed £19,000 for a workplace injury that left her ‘barely able to walk’ before jetting off to Valencia a couple of weeks later to be filmed bungy jumping on Channel 4’s Coach Trip. In the show she described the jump as “the best thing I’ve ever done”; later she was given a 10-month suspended jail sentence.

Homeowners warned to be careful with blockages

Back in the UK – home insurance providers are urging householders to be wary of rogue Claims Management Companies (CMC) when making claims for blocked drains. Home insurance often includes cover for blocked drains and if you have a problem you should get in-touch with your provider. However, in recent years there’s been a spike in claims made by third party companies that’s costing the public and lining the pockets of the CMCs. It’s widely believed that unscrupulous CMCs are buying ‘leads’ off drainage firms and approaching homeowners in a bid to make inflated claims. A recent survey by a leading insurer found that over half of drainage claims were overinflated or invalid; meaning homeowners might be unwittingly committing fraud. If in doubt it pays to deal directly with your insurer.



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