According to APU, light commercial vehicles have been involved in almost a third of all deliberate collisions caused by the gangs in a worrying trend that has emerged in the last 12 months.
The announcement comes as new data shows that crash for cash incidents increased by 51% in 2013 to reach a record level, according to claims fraud data from Aviva, which is calling for stronger sentences to deter fraudsters.
As police, insurers and authorities continue to battle the scourge of crash for cash, APU and international commercial law firm Hill Dickinson have identified the trend involving drivers of the UK’s 3.7 million LCVs.
Specialists found that fraudsters target professional vehicles like vans because they are most likely to be fully insured and their drivers are often working to a tight deadline and are therefore less likely to dispute liability, according to APU’s unique team of former Police officers and forensic investigators.
According to APU and Hill Dickson, one in seven personal injury claims – some 69,500 a year – are now linked to suspected crash for cash scams, costing the motor industry £392 million annually.
Commenting on the findings, Neil Thomas, APU’s director of investigative services and a former Detective Inspector of West Midlands Police, said: ‘This is yet another example of how criminal fraud gangs are becoming more sophisticated – they are thinking quite hard about exactly who they target on the roads and it’s based on solid logic.
‘Britain’s LCV drivers are a hard-working lot and are very often pushed for time, so they are less likely to stand by the side of the road arguing the case about a collision. The criminals are banking on the fact that they will simply exchange insurance details and move on. It’s cynical but it works.’
Peter Oakes, head of fraud at Hill Dickinson, added: ‘Fraud generally and crash for cash incidents are undoubtedly still on the increase across the UK – with fraudsters looking to take advantage and exploit the weaknesses of the industry. Over 17% of induced accidents are perpetrated by individuals who have previously committed fraud, and they are increasingly turning their attention to commercial vehicles. Data and analytics is the best weapon the industry has against the fraudsters. Our Netfoil database allows us to profile and identify and analyse fraud trends, such as this increase in targeting of transit vans, and affording us the opportunity to inform, advise and protect our clients.’
Our Roadsense Roadwatch cameras are helping our customers fight this worrying trend providing irrefutable evidence when their drivers are not to blame and saving them £000’s in costs, repair bills and fraudulent claims. www. roadsense.co.uk/cameras