Cash for crash

The insurance companies are at fault.

Watching recent documentaries on the subject of cash for crash itís clear that insurance claims are all simply a matter of the correct paperwork. If the paperwork is correct and the claimant is willing to back up their claim with a lawyer in court, itís almost impossible for the insurance company to refuse payment.

But recently I had my vehicle stolen and I reported the theft to both the police and the insurance company.

After I had made my reports it wasnít long before a police officer turned up at my door. He was pleasant, polite and well mannered and claimed to be coming round to see me because I was a victim of crime. But due to some of the questions he asked, I soon suspected that it was a bit more to his visit than just that. Then later, when I had convinced him that my twenty two year old motor home, which was in excellent condition, had genuinely been stolen, he told me that part of his job was to try and make sure I hadnít arranged for the theft of my vehicle so I could claim the insurance.

But this interview led to an idea.

The questions the police officer asked were very subtle and also skilfully put and on reflection I realised that if I had arranged for my own vehicle to be stolen, I would almost certainly have tripped up and given the game away.

Consequently, when it comes to cash for crash, especially accidents to which the police were not called, the insurance companies should send trained interviewers to interview people who are making a personal injury claim. To give the false claimant some time to forget the details of the accident they are claiming for, the interviewer would wait until some time after the accident and then make a visit under the guise of just finalising the paperwork. Then careful but subtle questioning would quickly establish whether the claim was genuine, exaggerated or just plain false.

The interviewer, admitting to nothing, would simply fill in the forms and when they got back to the office would inform the police of claims they suspected to be fraudulent.

Now, no one will deny that, even when questioned about the accident some time after it was supposed to have happened, skilled criminals could still get away with their crime. But as cash for crash is becoming so prevalent, itís clear that many who are not skilled criminals are trying to make fraudulent claims. If the police caught a number of these and their convictions were widely published, it would make many who thought that cash for crash was a good way of making some extra money think twice. Claims would diminish and the insurance companies could be forced to reduce insurance premiums for all.

At the moment it seems that from the insurance companies point of view the simplest way of dealing with the problem is to just increase premiums and then claim that they are unable to do anything about this cash for crash problem. But to stop the rot they donít have to catch the best of the criminals, only a large number of the incompetent ones. If they then publicised their successes it would put false cash for crash claims back into the hands of only the most skilled criminals and greatly reduce the number of claims being made.

Premiums would fall.

However, the question to ask is this. If putting up insurance premiums is the easy way for the insurance companies to deal with this problem, do they really want to be bothered with trying to actually catch the people who make fraudulent claims?

I am seriously tempted to believe insurance companies just are not bothered about this cash for crash problem. Everyone who owns a vehicle in this country is obliged, by law, to buy insurance and if the insurance companies decide to put up the premiums, citing the cash for crash fraud as a reason, there's nothing anyone can do.

Consequently, why should insurance executives bother themselves in any real way with the problem? Don't forget, due to their very high salaries and bonuses, they need extra time off to go and spend that money and so time spent on trying to wipe out insurance fraud is time they cannot spend on enjoying the high remuneration they receive.

---July 15, 2011---

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