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Zurich brings ‘crash for cash’ driver to justice

At a glance

  • Porsche driver falsely claimed over £100,000 in damages
  • Zurich’s expertise triggered an investigation, resulting in a conviction
  • Insight from the Intelligence Team Leader at Zurich’s Claims Investigation Unit

In a high-profile ‘crash for cash’ claims fraud scam, Zurich has proved that the driver of a Porsche deliberately caused an accident and then falsely claimed over £100,000 in damages.

The driver was found guilty of causing a road crash with a council van and then driving his Porsche into a tunnel wall to make the damage worse.

CCTV footage from the tunnel where the incident occurred showed the driver change lanes and make an emergency stop in his Porsche, causing the van, driven by a council employee, to plough into the back of it.

If the claim had not been challenged, the customer may have unfairly faced additional premium increases.

The case came to court after Zurich, the council’s insurer, referred its suspicions to City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), triggering a criminal investigation.

Insider meets Kat Scott, Intelligence Team Leader at Zurich’s Claims Investigation Unit.

How were you involved in the case?

This case was referred to me in a previous role as the dedicated Fraud Co-ordinator. I am trained to detect and handle fraudulent motor claims and ensure, where fraud arises, that the claims are challenged, and comply with our ‘Zero Tolerance’ philosophy on fraud.

Uncovering Zurich’s expertise

An experienced team of 80 investigators and intelligence analysts cover all parts of the UK

Local teams support fraud detection at branch level across all lines of business and distribution channels

A specialist Network Evaluation Team deals with organised crime, such as crash for cash gangs

Received the Investigation Team of the Year award at the 2012 Insurance Fraud Awards

Why was the file referred to you?

The file was referred to me because the claims handler was concerned the accident may have been a set-up, based on the initial review of CCTV footage.

How long were you on the case?

Four years, from the date it was first referred to me in April 2009 until the conviction on the 7th March 2013.

How did you build your case?

It was important to study and preserve the evidence. This involved analysis of CCTV footage, witness statements, submissions and photographs of the Porsche. For example, I went back to the CCTV footage several times and it was clear that the vehicle was damaged post accident away from the scene, as the damage was not visible in the tunnel footage. This was a key point in our case.

Were you involved with the litigation?

Yes, the matter later litigated following our denial of the claim. I felt it important to be part of this as the person closest to the case and holding the greater technical understanding and witness knowledge.

We successfully defended the civil trial and because I had preserved my evidence, and this was a dangerous accident with public risk, the case was forwarded to the 
IFED, a specialist police unit dedicated to tackling insurance fraud. It secured a custodial conviction against the driver.


How does this case help Zurich’s brokers?

Zurich’s broker network can depend on our expertise and resources to challenge fraudulent claims, helping to keep premium costs competitive. In this case, if the claim had not been challenged the council in question may have unfairly faced additional premium increases in subsequent years.

Experts in claims fraud

The result of Zurich’s four-year investigation amounted to savings of more than £100,000 in payments to the claimant and other associated costs.

Zurich’s claims fraud expertise was recognised by the 2012 Insurance Fraud Awards, where it received the Investigation Team of the Year award.

Image © Getty

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