Fraud experts warn that staged motor ‘accidents’ are driving up insurance premiums.
Following last week’s report from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) showing that fraudulent insurance claims rose by 5% in 2011, experts in the region have confirmed that they too have seen a marked increase in fraud, particularly in staged ‘accidents’.
Darren Shelmerdine, business intelligence director at BTG Global Risk Partners, part of Begbies Traynor Group, commented: “Many companies have now set up alliances with incident investigators, like ourselves, to investigate the rise in the number of staged accidents.
“When recently supporting a major UK utilities client in their health and safety campaign, we designed an incident investigation program which identified they were likely to be targeted by fraudsters due to their easily identifiable liveried commercial vehicles. The perpetrators of these fraudulent claims would be confident that our client would have good insurance cover in place.
“As a result of our work, our client noticed a significant reduction in claims against them which led to substantial savings on its insurance premiums.”
He continues: “Another area of vulnerability which is being exploited is accidents abroad. Obviously, in the past it has been more difficult for insurance companies to investigate the validity of claims overseas on holiday insurance, however these tie ups with incident investigators are providing them with the global reach they need to investigate suspicious claims abroad.
“Unfortunately, it’s estimated these types of fraudulent claims add about £50 a year to honest customers insurance premiums.”
Mr Shelmerdine concludes: “Our experience shows that businesses are becoming more aware of these scams and would-be fraudsters should take heed of the fact that increasingly companies are turning to specialist investigators to put a stop to their activities.”
Julie is a law graduate who qualified with Price Waterhouse in 1994. Julie joined Smith & Williamson in 1997 and became a partner in 2001. With Mike Stevenson, Julie set up Middleton Partners offices in Salisbury and Southampton, both of which are now part of Begbies Traynor.
Julie is a member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association and is a Fellow of The Association of Business Recovery Professionals. Julie deals with all aspects of Corporate Recovery and turnaround work and takes all form of personal insolvency appointments.