In November 2012, the Insurance Fraud Bureau (‘IFB’) published a report claiming that one in seven personal injury claims is linked to scams involving criminal gangs who crash into innocent motorists or fake accidents to make fraudulent compensation claims; the so-called ‘crash for cash’ claims. The Bureau, funded by the insurance industry, claimed this fraud costs policyholders nearly £400million a year and contributes to the cost of high motor premiums.
Research undertaken by Thompsons, a personal injury firm, alleges that the IFB claims cannot be substantiated after making a number of freedom of information requests to Police forces nationwide. Of those who responded, only one had undertaken investigations into fraudulent motor accidents in the past three years (and only two investigations at that).
It is not entirely clear where the IFB gets its figures from; not from the Police apparently. An IFB spokesman stands by its figures, claiming that they are based on ‘industry data’ of suspected ‘cash for crash’ scams.
The insurance industry has gone to great lengths to create an impression that fraudulent claims are widespread and the cause of high premiums; perhaps ‘cash for crash’ claims are not as common as insurers would like us to believe, but in creating an impression that they are, the insurers perpetuate the myth of ‘compensation culture’ in Britain today.