Fleet operators are being advised to proactively protect their vehicles and drivers, following a crash for cash report from the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).
SmartDrive Systems, a provider of in-vehicle camera systems, says the report must act as an urgent wake up call to any operators not using camera footage as part of their accident management process.
The IFB report identifies more than 170,000 insurance claims potentially linked to cash for crash gangs, out of 2.7m claims made between October 2019 and December 2020.
“A number of our fleet customers, particularly those operating vans on last mile delivery, have found themselves particular targets of this criminal behaviour,” said Penny Brooks, managing director of SmartDrive Systems.
“The term ‘fraud’ doesn’t begin to capture the nature of crash for cash offence,” she added. “These people are weaponising vehicles and attacking commercial vehicle drivers. This is physically dangerous; it is highly stressful and it can shatter a driver’s confidence. Not to mention the cost to the fleet operator. “
Crash for cash scams can range from paper-based fabrications, or vehicles being damaged behind closed doors, through to those where collisions are being caused by fraudsters.
IFB investigations have found single gangs can be behind thousands of orchestrated collisions in some areas, with the combined value of their fraudulent claims running into the millions.
The Midlands, North West and London were highlighted as particular problem areas by the IFB, with Birmingham named the most dangerous city in the UK for collision scams.
A proactive video solution can provide protection against these scams. The SmartDrive system captures 10 seconds of footage before and after a collision, giving an unarguable narrative. The driver can also manually activate the cameras for recording events or self-protection.
Footage is offloaded via the cellular network in near real time, preserving the data and speeding First Notification of Loss (FNOL), claim process and claim dismissal.
Brooks said: “We have helped our customers dismiss literally thousands of fraudulent cash for crash claims this way and save hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“If all commercial vehicles had a suitable camera system, we could drive these criminals off the road, for good. Our drivers are a precious resource and we should do all we can to protect them.”