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LV='s top ten whiplash whoppers

Press release: 17/06/2013

Despite falling accident rates, compensation claims for whiplash and other personal injuries have hit epidemic proportions [1]. British insurers now receive 1,500 claims for whiplash every day [2] and it is estimated that up to 60% of these claims are exaggerated or fraudulent [3].

Research with accident victims reveals that almost a third (29%) of those who have claimed compensation for personal injuries following a car crash admit they exaggerated their injury to get compensation and a further one in ten (10%) say they made up the injury entirely to get the money [4]. This type of fraud has led to some inventive stories being heard by the LV= claims team.

Here are the top ten whiplash whoppers to date [5]:

The Facebook Fraudster
LV= received a car insurance claim from a third party claiming she and her daughter were injured when our insured went into the back of her car. The lady later posted on Facebook that she'd been in a car accident that day and it had shaken her up. When a concerned friend enquired after her daughter, Mrs F replied that she was very relieved that her daughter hadn't been in the car at the time. When challenged with this information, she quickly changed her story. This claim would have cost LV= an extra £2,500 if the fraud had not been detected.
The Silver Screen Scammer
Miss S claimed that she had to cancel her holiday as she had sustained a whiplash injury and was unable to travel. She had travel insurance with LV= and wanted to claim for the cost of the entire holiday. When asked how she had been injured, Miss S replied that she'd got whiplash after jumping back in surprise at seeing a tiger jump out of the water – while at the cinema watching Life of Pi in 3D. Claim amount requested: £1,000.
The CCTV Slam-on
When Mr C, a cash-for-crash scammer, slammed on his brakes in front of a van he did not realise that his antics were being caught on camera. The van belonged to a CCTV installer who had installed a video camera in his rear-view mirror. When the vehicles collided, the camera had a clear view of the inside of the car showing that there was one driver and no passengers. However, when Mr C submitted his claim for compensation, he claimed that there were several other people in the car who were all injured. When challenged with the footage, he quickly disappeared. The total value of this claim was £20,000.
The Fibbing Fighter
Mr F claimed that he was suffering severe whiplash after our insured went into the back of his vehicle. He claimed that his symptoms were extreme and that his doctor had said he would be out of action for several months and would have to give up the gym. He complained that this was a particular problem for him as he was a professional boxer. A quick internet search revealed records of him competing in the ring a mere six weeks after the alleged collision where he was well enough to win a match. Suffice to say he quickly withdrew his claim and gave up the fight. This claim would have cost LV= £10,000 if the fib had not been detected.
The Luxury Goods Liar
Miss L claimed that when she was injured in her accident the impact had been so great that it had broken her Gucci sunglasses. When asked for proof of ownership, Miss L sent in a pair of broken imitation shades and claimed she had lost the receipt. Despite her protestations, our loss adjusters confirmed that the shades were not genuine and therefore worth less than the cost of the postage to send them in. Not content with this, Miss L then claimed she had also lost a Pandora bracelet at the scene of the accident, which would have to be replaced. She submitted a hand written receipt for this bracelet which turned out to be just another poor quality fake. Claim amount requested: £1,000.
The Baby Blagger
A woman who had recently given birth claimed she had been in a car accident and sustained whiplash while her friend was driving. On inspection of her medical records, it transpired that she could not possibly have been in the car as she was in hospital giving birth at the time. This claim would have cost LV= £3,000.
The Two-Pints-of-Lager-and-a-Tall-Story Trickster
When Mr T saw a few bricks falling off a truck and the police being called, he saw his opportunity to cash in. Mr T claimed that he had been driving past the truck, which was insured by LV=, when the bricks had fallen onto their car. He wanted £3,500 compensation for vehicle damage and personal injuries. When LV= checked the police report, it transpired that the two scammers had not been driving at all but had been sat drinking in a beer garden with a clear view of the incident. Mr T had in fact gone over and talked to the police about the incident he had witnessed and they recorded his name on the report.
The Persistent Perjurer
Mr P claimed that he had been hit by a car that was insured by LV= and requested compensation for his injuries and the damage to his vehicle. When LV= engineers inspected the vehicle they found that the car had not been in a collision at all and that Mr P had simply reversed the car into a wall. What he did not realise is that the damage from the wall was much higher than a car bumper and the damage quickly gave him away. When challenged in court, Mr P insisted that he had collided with the other vehicle and signed a witness statement to this fact. He later admitted he had lied under oath and was found guilty of perjury, which resulted in a custodial sentence. The total value of this case including legal costs was £120,000.
The Family Affair
In 2005, a car went into the back Mrs A and left her with injuries that she claimed left her severely disabled, unable to work and in need of care for five to eight hours a day. Mrs A was in receipt of incapacity benefits and the claim overall was valued in excess of £650,000. Her husband and daughter also signed statements to the court confirming the claimant's allegations. LV= was later tipped off that Mrs A was not disabled as alleged, but that she was actually working. Mrs A was found guilty of contempt of court and given a custodial sentence.
The Lazy Liars
The B family took the cake when they didn't even bother to have an accident but instead used photos of car damage resulting from a previous collision to allege that they had been in an accident that never took place. There were initially seven claims for personal injury running to tens of thousands of pounds. However, when LV= checked the number plate against the insurer claims database, they found that one of the cars involved had been in an identical accident on another junction a few months before. LV= took the family to the Royal Courts of Justice in the first 'contrived collision' case of its kind, where the guilty parties received custodial sentences. The total value of this claim for all the injuries involved would have been £75,000.

Fraud has been seen as a 'victim-less' crime for far too long but the reality is that it drives up premiums for honest motorists. Claims for whiplash cost British insurers £2 billion a year and add around £90 to every premium [6]. We support the Ministry of Justice's consultation on whiplash and its aims to create new legislation that will reduce the burden of these costs for honest motorists. Those tempted to make a claim when they do not have an injury should think again as making a fraudulent claim could lead to a hefty fine or prison sentence.

John O'Roarke, Managing Director of LV= car insurance

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About LV=

LV= employs 5,700 people and serves over five million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK's largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.


Notes

  1. Source: the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmtran/writev/whiplash/m36.htm paragraph 14.
  2. Source: The Association of British Insurers (ABI) https://www.abi.org.uk/News/News-releases/2013/03/Fair-Independent-Objective--Abi-Publishes-Proposals-To-Curb-The-Uks-Whiplash-Epidemic
  3. Source: IfoA. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmtran/writev/whiplash/m36.htm paragraph 19.
  4. Source: LV= commissioned PCP research to question 2,000 British adults (aged 18+) who had had a road traffic accident since 2010 (both drivers and passengers). The research took place in January 2013.
  5. All names have been changed to protect the identity of the claimants involved.
  6. Source: ABI https://www.abi.org.uk/News/News-releases/2013/03/Fair-Independent-Objective--Abi-Publishes-Proposals-To-Curb-The-Uks-Whiplash-Epidemic