This follows Aviva’s latest crash for cash figures which revealed the insurer picked up one organised crash case every three hours in 2015, or more than 3000 for the year, but that figure only included those frauds that are detected.
Angela Bailey, head of claims fraud intelligence at Aviva, said although the number of actual claims it received had fallen slightly, it was actually detecting more scams and seeing gangs target new areas.
“Birmingham organised gangs are starting to have a few accidents in surrounding areas so Leicester for example, I don’t know if that’s a new tactic they’re employing but that’s slightly surprising,” she said.
Motor fraud remains the largest source of fraud at the insurer, valued at £58m or 60% of all claims, while the insurer said it has more than 17,000 suspicious whiplash claims under investigation and 4,000 linked to known fraud rings.
Director at the Insurance Fraud Bureau, Ben Fletcher, said insurers across the board are detecting an increasing number of cases but the landscape is continually evolving.
“What we tend to see from an industry perspective is quite a lot of these scams tend to go in cycles, so we see gangs mixing and matching induced [where innocent motorists are hit by fraudsters] and staged collisions. When they have a ready supply of vehicles then quite often, staged accidents are more profitable to them, if they get challenged on those then they change their tactics,” Fletcher said.
He said there are cases where fraudsters try to steal or coerce details about a genuine accident and force people to make claims, even where no-one was injured.
“Some of the staged and induced accidents are being increasingly detected by insurers and, therefore, rather than creating entirely bogus claims such as the staged or induced, they’re trying to hijack what would be an otherwise genuine claim,” he said.
“Post-[Legal Aid, Sentenceing and Punishment of Offenders Act] we’ve seen a decrease in the ratio of numbers of personal injured people reducing so the historical view of lots of people being crammed into a car to make lots of money, as fraudsters have identified that those cases will be quickly targeted.”
Bailey said while she couldn’t detail exact tactics they use to catch fraudsters for operational reasons, there were certain methods commonly used.
“They’re targeting main roads and big roundabouts. The size of some of these [fraud rings], the amount of organisation that must go into them is quite shocking to me,” she added.