Crackdown on car insurance fraud

11 August 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Perpetrators of car insurance fraud might think twice now that the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) is up and running, having won its first court case last week.

A 'crash for cash' gang which had been staging car accidents and falsely claiming on car insurance policies were caught by the IFB, set up two years ago to try and combat insurance fraud, after a ground-breaking investigation.

In conjunction with the Organised Crime Group, the IFB's two year investigation, codenamed Operation Mysterious, saw the syndicate sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, which is hoped to deter others from committing similar insurance fraud crimes.

The IFB believes that this kind of investigation and sentencing will send fraudsters "a clear message that the insurance industry and law enforcement is taking this kind of criminal activity very seriously."

The 'crash for cash' gang reportedly made fraudulent insurance claims totalling £250,000 in compensation for road accidents that never occurred. The group provided insurance companies with false details, counterfeit documents, and caused deliberate damage to cars in order to support their claims.

The claims included things like damage to vehicles, personal injuries, recovery costs, hire vehicles, legal costs and loss of earnings, said investigating officer Detective Superintendent Jon Chapman of the Hertfordshire Constabulary.

Detective Constable Julian Griffiths, who worked on Operation Mysterious from the outset, added: "We are pleased with the convictions which have followed many months of effective partnership working with the IFB. The Constabulary is committed to tackling serious and organised crime and the successful conclusion of this inquiry shows our determination to bring offenders to justice."

The Constabulary was able to restrain more than £1million in assets from the convicted gang, which, the Detective said, "enables us to hit criminals where it hurts – in their pockets."

The IFB continues to target other crime rings, it says, adding that such scams pose the biggest systematic fraud problem to insurance companies, costing the industry an estimated £200million a year and pushing up innocent drivers' insurance premiums.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd