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Detecting ‘crash for cash’ claims fraud

At a glance

  • Insurance fraud is costing the UK economy £1billion a year, pushing up premiums across the board
  • Zurich’s ‘identifiers’ can help your customers recognise a scam when they see one
  • Raising awareness among drivers is a key step towards detecting fraud

This article counts towards accumulating your annual CII CPD structured learning hours for Claims.

By reading this article, and correctly answering the three questions underneath, you will have achieved the following learning outcome: List some of the most common features or characteristics of fraudulent claims.

Visit the CPD Hub to log in and begin accumulating CPD hours.

Claims fraud such as ‘crash for cash’ schemes costs the insurance industry £1billion a year, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), and pushes up everyone’s premiums, but there are ways your clients can protect themselves.

“Details are essential for piecing together what happened.”

Louise Cummings, Fraud Ring Team Leader at Zurich

Unwittingly getting involved in a fraudulent insurance claim can cost a driver or business dearly – they might have to pay hefty excess on their insurance, and face increased premiums at renewal, even if they were not at fault.

As insurance prices rise to cope with the increased costs of fraud, it is in everyone’s interests to combat it. There are things your customers need to be aware of that can help them to detect criminal action, when things are not as they seem.

Raising awareness

How customers can help to detect fraud:

  • Report all incidents
  • Provide as much detail as possible
  • Take photos of all the vehicles involved
  • Make a note of the registration numbers
  • Get statements from any witnesses present

Louise Cummings, Fraud Ring Team Leader at Zurich, urges employers to make their staff aware of claims fraud and how to spot it, so that they are prepared if something happens.

“The most important thing is to report all incidents that take place,” Louise said. “Secondly, drivers should collect as much information as they can. This includes taking photos, evaluating whether they think something is suspicious, getting details from any witnesses, and making a note of registration numbers.

“At Zurich, we’re doing all we can to combat insurance fraud, but the more information we receive, the better. Having important details like this is essential for piecing together what happened.”

Zurich’s army of claims fraud specialists is divided into two components. One is a UK-wide network of local teams that deal with one-off incidents such as opportunistic fraudsters who take advantage of a situation.


The second is the Network Evaluation Team, which deals with organised crime, whether that involves crash for cash gangs, individuals, teams of lawyers, or credit hire scams.

Red flags

Zurich has its own identifiers that suggest a claim might be fraudulent. This check list includes: whiplash personal injury (PI) claims involving multiple claimants; low-impact accidents that result in large third party repair bills; accidents that happen late at night, which are less likely to occur; and claims for serious injuries resulting from incidents, where the emergency services were not called to the scene.

Image © Getty

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