An interactive guide to spotting motor fraud

  • Despite a slight drop in the number of fraudulent motor claims, this remains the most common form of insurance fraud
  • Insurers and customers are working together to help combat motor fraud
  • Our interactive infographic highlights some of the most common indicators

The insurance industry has made enormous strides in tackling motor fraud.

We are seeing a lot of claims of very dubious quality emerging from some of these claims management companies.”
Scott Clayton, Claims Fraud and Investigations Manager at Zurich

Latest figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show a year-on-year fall in both the volume and value of fraudulent motor claims.

Despite this positive progress, dishonest motor claims remain the most common form of insurance fraud, and there is an awareness that more needs to be done to protect customers.

Here, Scott Clayton, Claims Fraud and Investigations Manager at Zurich, discusses the latest trends in motor fraud and explains what you should look out for when trying to detect fraudulent claims.

The rise of unscrupulous claims companies

While motor insurance fraud is nothing new, in recent years the proliferation of claims management companies has added a new dimension to the challenge.

Clayton says: “We are seeing a lot of claims of very dubious quality emerging from some of these claims management companies. Certain companies are definitely pushing the boundaries in terms of claims referrals.”

A common example would be historic whiplash claims, which are sometimes made up to three years after a collision occurs.

Clayton says: “What often happens after a collision is that a non-fault victim is contacted repeatedly by one or more of these claims companies and eventually agrees, often reluctantly, to submit a claim alleging they were injured.

“Non-fault victims have become one of the most valuable commodities for these kinds of claims management companies, and there have even been cases where employees of other insurance companies have been arrested for selling-on data about non-fault victims.”

An end to whiplash compensation?

It was reported this month that the government is stalling on long-awaited reforms that would end the right to compensation for minor whiplash injuries. It is estimated these whiplash reforms would save insurers £1bn a year and cut £50 off the average annual motor insurance premium.

Clayton says: “We don’t know if or when these reforms will go through, but we remain optimistic that it will happen eventually.”

Spotting a fraudulent motor claim

Historic whiplash claims are just one of the ‘red flag indicators’ of potential motor fraud that insurers and customers should be looking for.

Another red flag could be a lack of medical evidence in support of an injury claim. For example, Clayton says many claimants are unable to provide any evidence that they sought or received medical treatment in the days and weeks following a collision.

Simply receiving a claim from a particular firm can sometimes be enough to put an insurer on alert.

“We analyse the behaviours and conduct of certain firms because we know from experience that they warrant further scrutiny,” says Clayton.

Our interactive infographic illustrates some of the most common indicators of motor fraud.

How you can detect fraudulent claims

The recent fall in the number of fraudulent motor claims has been attributed to better standards of fraud management within the insurance industry, alongside the work of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).

Clayton agrees the tide is beginning to turn against the fraudsters. He adds: “The chances of being caught have never been greater and the punishments never more severe.”

Motor Fraud – Crash for cash