The BBC has exposed a car insurance scam run by a UK claims handling company. It alleges that Midlands-based Speed Claims has deliberately staged crashes to get money from innocent drivers.
The company, which theoretically exists to help accident victims claim compensation (ultimately paid by insurers), is said to have paid an undercover BBC reporter £500 to allow their car to be used in a staged crash and then take responsibility. The resulting claim covered for damage to the other vehicle and for compensation for whiplash injuries to both the driver and passenger.
The reporter had used a dummy insurance policy as part of the investigation, meaning the claim wasn't paid. Had it gone through, it could have totalled more than £20,000.
The man alleged to have arranged the fake crash denies the claim, while the company's directors say they are unaware of his activities.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau, an organisation set up by most UK insurers, has set up a special "Cheatline" (0800 328 2550) where members of the public can report cases of fraud. There's also an online reporting form which, like the phoneline, can be used anonymously.
According to the Bureau, such fraud costs the industry £400 million a year, a sum which represents an additional £44 on the average annual premium.