Whiplash fraud on the rise, claims Aviva

Gardiner: Change is urgently needed

Aviva rejects around one out of eight whiplash claims because they are suspect or fraudulent, the insurer said today.

It is currently investigating nearly 17,000 personal injury claims for suspected fraud – 1,000 more than last year.

In all, Aviva said it recorded a 5.4% increase in the value of fraud in 2017 to £90m, two-thirds of which was attributed to ‘crash for cash’ and fake whiplash claims.

The £59m worth of motor fraud detected was £9m up on the 2016 figures.

“Despite recent industry figures showing a drop in the number of motor claims paid, these figures show that the UK’s largest insurer is not seeing any let-up in the number of bogus personal injury claims it is dealing with,” Aviva claimed.

It said the figures demonstrated the importance of the Civil Liability Bill, which would “remove the financial incentive for opportunistic fraud and bring down the cost of motor insurance [and also] remove the financial incentives behind the nearly 900 million nuisance calls and texts made chasing an injury or insurance issue”.

Though Aviva said the level of organised motor fraud declined last year, it still has nearly 3,000 suspect claims under investigation with links to organised fraud or gangs.

“This decrease was offset by an increase in the numbers of low-speed accidents which have resulted in bogus injury claims.”

Tom Gardiner, head of fraud at Aviva UK Insurance, said: “Whilst it’s good news that the number of accidents is falling, we are still detecting more fraudulent claims than before.

“Whiplash fraud continues to present the biggest threat to customers – not just in terms of pushing premiums up, but by fraudsters putting innocent motorists at the risk of real harm by deliberately causing accidents to make bogus whiplash claims.

“Change is urgently needed. The proposed Civil Liability Bill will deter fraudsters from pursuing their campaign of crash for cash, simply to line their pockets. The good news in the meantime is that we are detecting, disrupting and prosecuting more fraud.”

Aviva said that last year it helped to bring 68 successful criminal prosecutions for fraud, carrying 143 years of prison sentences.

It also defended its customers against more than 800 “spurious” claims of being responsible for motor accidents, and in the last two years has had more than 250 claims against its customers struck out due to findings of fundamental dishonesty.

The insurer said it now screened all new and existing motor business to prevent fraudsters and gangs from buying policies with the express intention of submitting fraudulent claims. Last year, it avoided more than 14,000 policies where the applicant had known links to fraud.

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