‘Flash for crash’ tactic on the rise

by TTWpartners

Motorists are being warned about a dangerous new tactic being employed by criminals running ‘crash for cash’ fraud rings

Flashing headlights to entice innocent drivers into the path of a deliberate collision at junctions or whilst exiting fuel stations has emerged as a worrying trend since the turn of the year.

As Police, insurers and authorities clamp down on the traditional modus operandi of roundabout rear-end accidents, automotive anti-fraud investigation specialist, APU, has identified the new, more complex, method.

Dubbed ‘flash for crash’ by APU’s team of former-Police officers and forensic data investigators, the new tactic makes it harder for an innocent party to prove fault in the event of a legal dispute.

Some 380 false insurance claims are made daily, costing the motor industry £1.7m a year and pushing up insurance premiums.

‘It is yet another example of how criminal gangs are becoming more sophisticated and attempting to stay one step ahead of suspicion,’ said Neil Thomas, APU’s director of investigative services and former detective inspector of West Midlands Police.

‘The adoption of flashing headlights and beckoning the driver results in a ‘your word against mine’ situation when it comes to apportioning blame. By appearing to offer the right of way, the criminal simply continues his journey into a collision, holding the victim at fault for turning across him which, of course, cannot be denied under law.’

Each ‘accident’ can net the gangs tens of thousands of pounds in a variety of ways.

Firstly, they put in false personal injury claims for whiplash, sometimes including claims for people who were not even in the car. Added to that, they might charge the insurance company for loss of earnings,then they put in fake bills for vehicle storage, recovery, repairs, and replacement car hire.

In the more traditional rear-end shunt, criminals deliberately cause accidents by braking sharply in front of victims for no reason. They often also remove brake lights in order to reduce the victim’s reaction time.

The latest tactic sees cars lying in wait for victims to exit from shops, car parks or fuel stations. The fraudster flashes their headlights, offering the victim a right of way to join a main road, but then speeds up to ensure their car is hit side-on.

Detective inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police said: ‘The problem is a growing problem. Financially it costs insurers £392m a year – that impacts on motorists as it’s an extra £50 to £100 on every person’s premium so that’s a financial cost.

‘[There are] emotional costs [as] if you’re involved in a crash you could well lose your confidence, and if your passengers are children they may well become wary of being passengers in cars, and of course you may get injured or killed.’

The Insurance Fraud Bureau is currently investigating 49 rings, responsible for around £66m in false claims.  In the five years since its inception, APU has been instrumental in the successful conclusion of some of the biggest motor fraud cases ever prosecuted in the UK, including the sentencing of fraudster Masi Naqshbandi, who was jailed for seven years and three months for staging 260 fake accidents over a 15-month period, netting around £6.5 million in false insurance claims.

Neil said that, while motorists should be vigilant for any suspicious activity on the road, they should, at all times, maintain their concentration on the basic rules of safe driving.
APU is uniquely staffed by former Police officers and forensic data analysts who marry innovative technology and real-world police processes to identify fraudulent activity, protect insurer liability and help reduce insurance premiums.

Generally speaking, drivers are not meant to flash their lights to let people out onto busy roads. It is meant to be used as a warning.

From The Highway Code: ‘Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users. Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully.’

Crash for Cash Schemes Becoming a Nationwide Problem in the UK

by TTWpartners

Crash for Cash Schemes Becoming a Nationwide Problem in the UK

Please watch the above link from a BBC news article about crash for crash being a nationwide problem in the uk

In Vehicle camera systems are now regarded in the top 5 of the best solutions to help reduce your Fleet insurance…..

by TTWpartners

Fleet Management

In Vehicle camera systems are now regarded in the top 5 of the best solutions to help reduce your Fleet insurance…..

Insurance premiums have continued to rise, long after the financial contraction which first squeezed the underwriting markets started to ease.

Comparison figures for commercial insurance are hard to come by, but consumer comprehensive insurance has gone up by a staggering 40% between March 2010 and March 2011, according to the AA’s British Insurance Premium Index.

However, there are actions fleets can take to control costs.

There are two factors controlling premiums. One is claims history; the other is putting together a convincing package of measures which will convince an underwriter your future risk will be lower.

Tim Carder, underwriting director for Towergate Underwriting Transportation, says: “I want to hear a positive story which convinces me to offer a competitive rate – but you have to be serious about risk management. Paying lip service to it doesn’t work.”

Best practice advice from the insurance sector to keep your premiums low

Risk management begins with risk assessment Work with your insurer to analyse your claims history and highlight areas for improvement.

“Make employees aware that you will monitor accidents and take action where necessary, such as retraining,” says Richard Flint, head of transport at North Yorkshire Police.

2 Driver training Many insurers offer driver training programmes through partners – such as Zurich with suppliers like Greenroad – and all will take into account defensive driver training.

Not all insurers give upfront discounts but an improved claims record should be swiftly recognised.

3 Manage young drivers Mike Smith, commercial motor technical manager at Aviva, makes the point that young drivers, aged 17-20, are twice as likely to make an insurance claim as any other driver, and on average the claims cost will be three times higher, and 10 times more likely to involve severe bodily injury.

“Look closely at your policies for young drivers. Many young driver claims happen at night, so are young drivers allowed your vehicles for personal use? Review your procedures for training young drivers,” he says.

4 Combine insurances Insurers like Fusion, part of the Towergate group, offer combined public liability, employee liability and fleet insurance.

“This can offer economies of scale,” says Carder.

5 Use camera technology Forward facing cameras can provide invaluable data for defending claims or swiftly settling at-fault claims. They are particularly effective against crash-for-cash scenarios; organised  fraudulent vehicular claims currently costs the industry £350m a year.

6 Renew policies in good time and after proper review Don’t pay for unnecessary extras. “Don’t take windscreen cover; it’s as cheap for you to replace as for your insurer, so why pay the middleman?” says Fleet Cover broker Paul Greenwood.

7 Self-insure – or at least raise your excess “We only cover for third party,” says Phil Redman, fleet manager at IBM UK.

8 Provide good vehicle security “We pay a lower premium because we have Cybit trackers hidden in every van so if it’s stolen we can pinpoint its location instantly,” says Rob Paddock, logistics and distribution manager at Commercial Group.

9 Telematics The business case for telematics in car fleets may be less compelling than for vans and HGVs – but, says Carder, “if you have it, make sure you put the time in to exploit the health and safety benefits”.

Action to take to reduce the cost of insurance claims

1 Claim fast (part one) Mike Smith, commercial motor technical manager at Aviva says: “The average cost of bodily injury claims is increasing by 30% every year. Ensure drivers report claims, especially fault claims involving third parties, immediately. It really is case of every hour counts.” In cases of injury, insurers often even have preferred doctor and rehab arrangements, where costs can be controlled.

2 Claim fast (part two) Even in non-injury cases, third parties can be given expensive credit hire vehicles which are then charged back to your insurer. The sooner you claim, the more control insurers have over costs.

3 Claim fast (part three) The Ministry for Justice brought in new rules, giving insurers 15 days for information gathering leading to fast, non-litigious resolution. Break the deadline and costs spiral.

4 Be honest and encourage drivers to be honest Tim Carding, underwriting director at Towergate Underwriting Transportation, says: “If you are at fault say so. The longer you fight a battle you know you’ll eventually lose, the more it costs.”

5 Tracking can help with this speed as well as duty of care Paddock says when one of his vans had a collision: “I was there before the police were because the tracking pinpointed it to a couple of yards.”

Original Article can be found here

Dash-cam footage is the only real way to substantiate your claims in the court of law

by TTWpartners

Dash-cam footage is the only real way to substantiate your claims in the court of law. Forget witnesses. Hit and runs are very common and insurance companies notoriously specialize in denying claims. Two-way insurance coverage is very expensive and almost completely unavailable for vehicles over ten years old-the drivers can only get basic liability. Get into a minor or major accident and expect the other party to lie to the police or better yet, flee after rear-ending you. Since your insurance won’t pay unless the offender is found and sued, you’ll see dash-cam videos of post hit and run pursuits for plate numbers.

And sometimes drivers back up or bump their pre-dented car into yours. It used to be a mob thing, with the accident-staging specialists working in groups. After the “accident,” the offending driver — often an elderly lady — is confronted by a crowd of “witnesses,” psychologically pressured and intimidated to pay up cash on the spot. Since the Age of the Dash-cam, hustle has withered from a flourishing enterprise to a dying trade, mainly thriving in the provinces where dash-cams are less prevalent.

Dash-cam Supercut

The Mi Witness Dashboard camera is the perfect solution to protect yourself against false claims. Insurance fraud has existed ever since the beginning of insurance as a commercial enterprise.[1] Fraudulent claims account for a significant portion of all claims received by insurers, and cost billions of dollars annually. Types of insurance fraud are very diverse, and occur in all areas of insurance. Insurance crimes also range in severity, from slightly exaggerating claims to deliberately causing accidents or damage. Fraudulent activities also affect the lives of innocent people, both directly through accidental or purposeful injury or damage, and indirectly as these crimes cause insurance premiums to be higher. Insurance fraud poses a very significant problem, and governments and other organizations are making efforts to deter such activities.

Report reveals ‘Crash for Cash’ fraud costs UK motorists £392 million

by TTWpartners

‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters are “gambling with the lives of UK motorists” and costing honest policyholders nearly £400 million every year, according to a new report published today by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

Established to clamp down on Crash for Cash’ scams, the IFB links one in seven personal injury claims (69,500) to organised fraud in its new report, ‘Crash for Cash – putting the brakes on fraud’. The report urges members of the public to blow the whistle on ‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters by calling the Cheatline – powered by Crimestoppers – anonymously, on 0800 422 0421.

David Neave, chairman of the IFB, said: “Fraudsters don’t just scam the insurance industry; they pick the pocket of every honest policyholder whose premiums increase to cover the costs of fraud. But in ‘Crash for Cash’, insurance fraud poses even starker risks to society. Fraudsters motivated by greed are gambling with the lives of innocent motorists by deliberately causing crashes up and down the country.

“Criminal gangs organising multi-million pound ‘Crash for Cash’ scams are also using the profits of their fraud to fund other crimes plaguing our society, including illegal firearms, drug dealing and people trafficking. Far from being a victimless crime, insurance fraud is serious and something we all need to be wary of.”

The IFB is currently coordinating 40 live police operations across the UK, investigating and dismantling criminal gangs organising ‘Crash for Cash’ scams worth £66.6 million in potential loses to insurers.

DCI Dave Wood, head of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) – a dedicated police unit tackling insurance fraudsters across the UK – said: “‘Crash for Cash’ is a crime this country can ill-afford, putting innocent drivers at risk on our roads and leaving honest policyholders out of pocket.

“IFED’s first year in operation has found that although methods can vary, the objective remains the same, with organised crime groups stopping at nothing in their attempts to con insurers out of tens of thousands of pounds per incident.

“The IFB’s report sheds light on the murky world of ‘Crash for Cash’, spelling out the clear threats it continues to pose to the public and assisting the work IFED are doing to bring those responsible to justice.”

Craig Budsworth, chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) said: “The Insurance Fraud Bureau report makes astonishing reading and confirms exactly what we have suspected for some time – that organised criminal gangs are responsible for 1 in 7 personal injury claims relating to motor accidents. According to a recent report, injury claims came down nearly 25,000 last year and this could be nearly tripled by stamping out fraud.

The report also confirms that the vast majority of whiplash claims are legitimate and any future action to combat fraud by the Ministry of Justice must protect these accident victims.

Every support must be given to the authorities to ensure that these 40 or so criminal gangs are brought to justice as soon as possible to protect innocent accident victims. Regulators have insufficient resources to help combat this crime and so it’s vital we all work together.  The industry needs a collaborative approach to stamp out this type of crime and MASS looks forward to working with the IFB and the ABI on data sharing at an early stage.

MASS have suggested a range of solutions to tackle fraud. No medical, no damages would substantially reduce the opportunity for fraud and action must be taken on this.”

Fleet News, please see the original article here:

Police Witnes Latest News:

by TTWpartners

More and more people are capturing acts of dangerous driving on their in-car cameras, but as is usually the case the police are unwilling to take action. That is of course unless the incident is reported via us. We have a proven track record, not just in changing decisions made by the police, but being directly responsible for fixed penalties and notice of intent of prosecutions being issued and actual prosecutions being pursued. A landmark case will be heard on March 6th, where Northants Police are pursuing a dangerous driving prosecution captured on video by a member of public, and reported via our service.

Our success is possible due to decades of both frontline and strategic policing experience, PoliceWitness.com utilises its knowledge and understanding of the police, the law and prosecution proceedings to ensure acts such as dangerous driving and anti-social behavior and reported in a way that secures the best possible outcome. We challenge decisions made, often by in-experienced police officers, with favorable outcomes for those reporting.

By ensuring your customers understand that there is support and assistance available should they capture acts of poor driving on your in-car cameras, you further enhance your proposition and customer service, but also provide an additional reason to continue using your product daily.

These guys can help you build a case with the video evidence from your Mi Witness Accident Camera

for more information please visit here

Crash For Cash Scams on the increase…

by TTWpartners

There are 30,000 staged accidents ‘Cash For Crash’ in the UK, per year
There are 1,300 claims ‘every day’, for whiplash (BBC June 2012 reported a 30% increase)
Crash for Cash describes the event whereby one or more parties are willingly involved in a Road Traffic Accident for financial benefit.The law in the UK entitles those injured in car accidents that were not their fault to claim Personal Injury compensation.  This has lead to fraudsters deliberately involving themselves in car accidents.  Innocent drivers have found themselves victims of accidents that were caused by the other driver on purpose, although this is often very difficult to prove.There has been press attention drawn to recent events in the UK involving Crash for Cash fraud. Evidence has shown that tactics such as removing brake bulbs on a vehicle to cause an innocent driver to crash in to the back of a car have been used.  The Crash for Cash fraudsters know that rear end collisions are rarely disputed by the drivers insurance company, and use this to their advantage when making a claim.  It is almost impossible to prove that the brake lights on the car that was hit were not working before the accident occurred.  This will probably result in the fraudster winning their insurance claim and being awarder personal injury compensation and other damages.Following an accident, the fraudsters will exaggerate their injuries in order to claim personal injury compensation.  Some criminals will carry passengers when causing the Crash for Cash accident, this will allow them to make multiple personal injury claims.  This type of fraud costs every insured driver in the UK money. Criminal gangs and individuals have made fraudulent claims amounting to tens of millions of pounds a year.House of Claims has had incidents reported where drivers of large vehicles have reversed at speed trying to crash in to the car behind them.  The shocked driver told us that a driver of a 4×4 vehicle looked at him in the rear view mirror before braking suddenly.  When the driver avoided the accident by stopping in time, the fraudster attempted to crash in to him by reversing at speed.  The Crash for Cash fraudsters know that it is almost impossible for the victimised driver to prove that they did not drive straight in to the back of their car.

How can I avoid being a victim of Cash for Cash fraud?

Fraudsters may find it easier to target you when you aren’t concentrating on driving. Using a mobile phone whilst driving, sending text messages, eating whilst driving, are all to be avoided.  If you are not concentrating on your driving 100 per cent, that may be the time the car in front of you brakes heavily and causes an accident. Keep your eyes on the road at all times, don’t become distracted when driving.  Keep plenty of space between you and the car in front, and allow even more room in wet weather conditions.

Have you been Flashed?

Cash for Crash fraudsters have been known to flash their headlights to make an innocent driver believe that they have been given permission to pull out from a turning. They will then continue without braking and hit the other driver, causing an accident. The victim of the Crash for Cash incident will find it virtually impossible to prove that they were given permission to pull out.  By causing an unavoidable obstruction the victim of the scam will be held liable when the fraudster makes a claim.

House of Claims advises you always to proceed with caution when exiting from side roads. If you think that you have been given way by another driver, take care and consider if it is safe to proceed before doing so. If an accident occurs they will probably blame you, so think carefully.

What to do if you’ve been victim of a Crash for Cash accident.

If you think that you have been victim of a Crash for Cash accident:

Report the incident in detail to the police as soon as possible. Make sure you give all the details as they will help your case in the future.

Make sure you obtain a Crime Reference Number from the police.

Let your insurer know that you believe the accident was caused deliberately, and tell them why you think so.

Operation Catcher – Advice to companies, operating vehicles within the M25, who are the victims of deliberately induced road collisions.
The Metropolitan Police area is one of a number of regions within the UK that is experiencing a high level of deliberately induced road collisions.

Organised criminal groups are targeting companies who operate vehicle fleets within the M25 area by deliberately causing collisions in order to defraud their insurers. Operation Catcher is a Metropolitan Police initiative, intended to identify an offence when it happens, prosecute the offenders and, as a result, reduce the incidence of this type of crime.

What are the features of an induced collision?
• The criminals will use two cars to target their victim. These cars will get ahead of the Company vehicle in steady moving traffic, the first will then brake hard or make an unexpected manoeuvre, this will cause the second car to brake hard (often using the handbrake to avoid alerting the intended victim) and result in a collision.

• The first car will make off while the second, now damaged car will stop. The occupants of this second car will make a point of blaming the car that has made off and appear to sympathise with their victim – you.
• The criminals are most frequently from the Asian community – Afghan, Bangladesh or Pakistani. (Not exclusively but a common feature in London)
• There will often be at least three occupants in the car.
• Driver details are often already written down and insurance and registration documents are carried in their car.
• The driver will speak English while the other occupants do not.
It should be noted that these features are a guide only and all elements may not be present at every induced collision. Extract from Operation Catcher press release from Metropolitan Police.

The top twenty areas in the UK affected by crash for cash activity have been published. Crash for cash is when fraudsters cause car crashes with innocent motorists to get insurance payouts.

The hotspots have been published by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), who are also working with law enforcement to crack down on insurance fraud, of which crash for cash is one type. Operations to date have resulted in more than 486 arrests, 119 criminal convictions and sentences that have included over 91 years imprisonment.

The top twenty crash for cash hotspots are listed by post area:

  • Birmingham (B)
  • Sheffield (S)
  • Manchester (M)
  • Nottingham (NG)
  • Cardiff (CF)
  • Liverpool (L)
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne (NE)
  • Leicester (LE)
  • Bristol (BS)
  • London South-East (SE)
  • London East (E)
  • Coventry (CV)
  • Glasgow (G)
  • London North (N)
  • Peterborough (PE)
  • Leeds (LS)
  • Brighton (BN)
  • Reading (RG)
  • Guildford (GU)
  • Portsmouth (PO)