After a five year insurance fraud investigation, three members of a gang involved in a "cash for crash" insurance scam have today been sentenced. Convicted of conspiracy to defraud, the trio have been jailed for terms of 18 months, four and a half years and five years.
The Luton based gang contrived accidents involving innocent drivers to claim thousands in bogus personal injury claims, storage costs and recovery fees. In other cases, claims were made in relation to entirely fictitious accidents. These convictions are the last in an investigation by Bedfordshire Police involving a total of 39 defendants in a £5.3 million insurance fraud.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) estimate that undetected general insurance claims fraud cost the industry £1.9 billion a year. Of this figure, the insurance industry's exposure to fraudulent organised motor insurance claims per year is £350 million, costing honest customers over £4 million every week and adding on average £44 to every policyholder's annual insurance premium.
The IFB was launched in July 2006 to tackle the growing problem of cross industry fraud and aid the detection and prosecution of these criminal gangs. Speaking on these convictions, Glen Marr, the Director of IFB stated: "Today once again demonstrates the effectiveness of the insurance industry and Police working collaboratively to disrupt fraudsters and protect innocent motorists and genuine policyholders. Additionally, it reinforces the intolerance of the insurance industry towards fraud."
Following a line of recent civil claims successfully pursued by insurers for contempt of court against claimants fraudulently exaggerating claims, there can be no doubt that the insurance industry is biting back.