Cracking down on cash-for-crash fraud, better fraud prevention strategies and new legislation in the shape of the Civil Liability Act 2018 (also known as the whiplash reforms), have all forced fraudsters to explore non-whiplash cons such as bogus slip-and-trip claims, according to Aviva.
In an early sign of the potential impact the whiplash reforms could have on motor injury fraud, the value of whiplash fraud detected by Aviva fell by 10%, while organised fraud such as crash for cash fell by 12.5%. Crash for cash includes induced accidents which put the safety of innocent road users at risk. The high levels of fraudulent motor insurance claims have been a significant factor behind spiralling motor insurance premiums in past years.
Aviva led the call for the reforms set out in the Civil Liability Act 2018, and early signs are that fraudsters have seen the writing on the wall and are moving away from whiplash fraud.
While Aviva’s figures represent tangible progress in the fight against motor insurance fraud, the scale of detected claims fraud remains a major issue for genuine customers. Motor insurance still accounts for two-thirds (66%) of all suspected or proven fraud detected by Aviva and one in seven whiplash claims received by Aviva are rejected for suspect or proven fraud.
The average fraudulent liability claim is worth more than £14,000 and Aviva detected nearly £14 million of these scams, including the case of a former law student who pretended to trip over a crate of orange juice in a supermarket and claim for her injuries, the first private prosecution in the UK by an insurance company against a ‘slip-and-trip’ fraudster (see additional cases studies below). Aviva currently has 1,800 suspect liability claims under investigation.
Aviva has invested significantly in prevention at the point of quote and sale and now screens all its personal and commercial motor insurance business to prevent fraudsters and gangs from buying policies and going on to submit fraudulent claims. The most common types of application fraud detected by Aviva are ghost broking (where vulnerable customer groups are exploited by rogue agents), payment fraud (such as stolen credit cards) and quote manipulation (where risk factors such as address and driving history are repeatedly changed).
Commenting on the annual fraud figures, Tom Gardiner, Head of Fraud, Aviva UK General Insurance, said, “We are pleased to see that the continued investment and focus we have given to prevention and detection is starting to reduce the impact of fraud for our genuine customers.
“Insurance fraud is still a major issue for customers, with over £80 million of suspect or proven claims fraud detected in 2018, 17,000 total suspect claims under investigation and 16,700 instances of policy fraud. So we must remain vigilant to new threats and continue to defend our honest customers against the cost of fraud.
“We are also working hard to ensure that there are consequences for fraudsters. We have 172 cases currently under investigation with the police, and last year we worked with enforcement agencies to help to prosecute 58 instances of fraud, securing custodial sentences of over 68 years – which we hope will serve as a strong deterrent to people considering insurance fraud in future.”