Crash for cash conmen get the attention of Anti-motor fraud unit

A team of investigators that work in a  unique way are fighting back against  the ‘crash for cash’ fraudsters and others who are making bogus claims, and have just completed their most lucrative period to date, thwarting bogus claims worth over £5m during 2011 . 15 people who were involved relating to criminal activity or motor fraud were prosecuted successfully during the last three months of 2011.

These prosecutions came about as a result of the Accident Exchanges unique Asset Protection Unit, or APU. They are doing a vital job in thwarting the bogus claims that are causing motor insurance premiums to continue to rise. The convictions added up to more than 80 years in jail for those prosecuted successfully, and represents APU’s most prolific time since they were introduced in 2007.

The specialist APU team of former police officers and forensic data and behavioural analysts, use an in-house developed, multi-layered software platform to highlight suspect claims and possible fraudulent activity. Across 2011, it prevented insurers having to pay-out in excess of £5m on bogus motor claims; the largest, a staggering £103,000 in damages and costs, was recorded in December.

According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, undetected general insurance claims fraud is now nearing £2bn annually – £350m of which is motor related – adding an average of £44 to motor premiums.

APU remains unique to the industry, helping insurers, solicitors and the authorities thwart complex “crash for cash” gangs and motor fraud in general. It also has an enviable track record assisting Police Forces across the country to successfully prosecute career criminals. One notable case in November last year saw a much-sought after individual with 120 previous convictions imprisoned for 4 years as a result of evidence secured by the team.

Steve Evans, Chief Executive of Accident Exchange, said: “APU’s approach, a blend of technology and highly skilled former Police officers, is unique to the industry.

“Its success rate is incredible, denting the criminal practices of organised gangs and individuals to the betterment of all of the law-abiding motorists who pay insurance premiums in good faith.”

The recent spate of APU successes follows on the heels of a two-year unilateral investigation by Accident Exchange into the data produced by motor consultancy, Autofocus, and used by insurers and their legal representatives in the Courts.

In December, Lord Justice Aikens said that there was sufficient evidence to suggest ‘systematic fraud’ and ‘systemic slipshod’ work had prevented the innocent motorist receiving a fair trial.

As a result, Accident Exchange currently re-opening nearly 5,000 cases where solicitors acting for insurers had used information provided by Autofocus to defend ‘base hire’ rates (BHR).