- General insurer LV= has seen a 60% rise in personal injury claims in Scotland following whiplash reforms in England & Wales
- Fraudsters exploit different compensation structure in Scotland by driving north of the border to induce accidents with innocent motorists
- Data also suggests 47% of consumers in Scotland are unfamiliar with crash for cash fraud and 23% aren’t confident enough to spot it
LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) is urging drivers to watch out for crash for cash fraud and spot the signs, specifically those entering Scotland via the M6. The warning comes as the major car insurer has seen a 60%1 increase in personal injury claims in Scotland over the course of a year, which is linked to a fraudulent crime called crash for cash.
Crash for cash is an induced accident where fraudsters target innocent motorists to become the ‘at fault driver’, for example by deliberately slamming on the brakes of their car to ensure the car behind crashes into them. Currently, LV= GI is dealing with ten organised fraud investigations with a value of £2 million. Examples include policies taken out at addresses in England, with vehicles driven over the border into Scotland for the purpose of having an accident. LV= GI is currently working with Police Scotland and the Insurance Fraud Bureau to tackle the issue.
The significant rise has been prompted by whiplash reforms which now apply in England and Wales, and have been introduced to reduce the amount of compensation drivers are entitled to following a low value road traffic accident. The rules also limit the amount of legal fees which are recoverable, and are designed to reduce insurance costs for honest motorists.
However, these rules do not apply in Scotland, and this extra cash is vital for criminal gangs who rely on fraudulent crime to make money. Therefore, they’re using the M6 route into Scotland to pray on innocent victims, with the spike in claims demonstrating just how persistent fraudsters can be in evolving their crimes.
Hotspots which fork off the M6 onto main road corridors in Dumfries and Ayrshire include the A70, A74, A75, A76, M74, however accidents have also been identified in the Greater Glasgow area. The fraudsters are also known to be having multiple accidents in the same vehicles using different identities. The same car was found to have caused a second accident just 12 days after its first attempt.
LV= GI is warning drivers to spot the signs of crash for cash as data2 reveals only half of the UK (50%) are familiar with this type of fraud, and for those who live in Scotland it’s 47%. According to a YouGov survey, 9 in 10 (90%) people in Scotland have never been a victim or targeted by crash for cash, despite 47% admitting they wouldn’t be confident to spot the signs. In addition, of those who live in Scotland, 33% said they don’t keep up-to-date with the latest insurance fraud.
Alan Gibbs, a victim who was targeted driving up the A70 said: “I’d heard of crash for cash and was aware of it happening to other people, but I never thought it would happen to me. I was travelling up to Largs in Scotland on the A70 near Cumnock when the car in front set off to join the roundabout. I followed but then suddenly the car slammed on to a complete stop, even though the road to the right was clear and I went into the back of him. I didn’t even see any brake lights come on when he braked.
“To think criminals do this on purpose for money is shocking, and is putting innocent drivers at huge risk. I was lucky and I wasn’t too badly injured or shaken up, but others might not be so fortunate. Creating more awareness for the public is so important.”
Matt Crabtree, Head of Fraud Strategy at LV= General Insurance comments: “Insurance fraud is evolving all the time, with fraudsters continuing to find ways to target innocent motorists for their own financial gain. Deliberately slamming on brakes to induce a collision is an extremely dangerous crime. It can have severe consequences to the victims including life changing injuries and fatalities, which is why we’re committed to helping raise awareness of the issue and tackle this at the source with local police forces.
“We want to help educate drivers and send a warning to help put a stop to this activity, and I’d encourage drivers to look out for emerging trends and read top tips to become much more confident at spotting crash for cash fraud.”
Alastair Ross, Head of Public Policy for Scotland, Wales & NI at the Association of British Insurers added: “Crash for cash criminals are a menace that put the lives of innocent motorists at risk. The amounts that they fraudulently claim can be huge and impact on the motor premiums paid by honest motorists. Personal injury reforms in England and Wales may encourage fraudsters to stage more motor accidents in Scotland. This is why it is so important for all motorists to be on their guard – if you suspect an incident is suspicious do not put yourself at risk but report your suspicions to the IFB confidential Cheatline.”
Top tips to spot crash for cash
- Look out for any potential hazards including unusual driving behaviour.
- Be cautious when pulling out of a side road or roundabouts, as fraudsters have been known to encourage drivers to pull out then deliberately speed up to cause a collision.
- If other drivers or their passengers are behaving suspiciously, or the condition of their vehicle is poor with pre-existing damage stay calm and keep back.
- If in an accident and it’s safe to do so, try to take photos of the car damage, location and people involved as well noting down how many passengers are in the other car so fraudsters can’t exaggerate damage or injuries.
- At the scene of an accident check for witnesses and any CCTV or dashcam footage which may help prove what happened.
- Make your insurer aware of the incident, your local police force and report any suspected fraud via the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) Cheatline.
Notes to editors
1 Increase of total personal injury claims received by LV= General Insurance between 2021-2022.
2 Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of LV= GI between 19th and 25th August 2021 surveying a nationally representative sample of 2011 adults in Great Britain, with 171 in Scotland.