Crash for cash scams are at an epidemic level in Luton, insurer Aviva has warned.
According to new research the amount of road traffic accidents deliberately caused to claim whiplash compensation rose by 21% nationally last year– with organised gangs now said to be at the centre of the crime.
The insurer has claimed that Luton has now become a prime ‘hotspot’ for conmen, with the LU postcode only surpassed by Birmingham in the amount of cash for cash accidents.
That puts the town ahead of the likes of North London, Leeds and Manchester– which was formerly a focal point of crash for cash activity before a number of successful police operations and prosecutions.
More than 50% of Aviva’s motor injury claims fraud is now organised in nature and the insurer now has over 6,500 suspicious injury claims linked to known fraud rings.
To combat the practice the insurer has added to calls for the government to treat minor whiplash injuries with rehabilitation, instead of cash compensation.
Tom Gardiner, Aviva UK head of claims fraud, said, “Crash for cash is not just a financial problem– it’s a serious social problem.
“No other form of insurance fraud puts the public at risk of serious injury.
“These deliberate accidents are on the increase, putting innocent motorists at risk simply so the driver in front can get cash compensation.
“Last year Aviva found these accidents increased by 51%, and they are continuing to grow.”
He added: “The fight against fraud begins with an effective deterrent.
“Would crash for cash exist if there was no money in it?
“We don’t think so.”