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CRAWFORD & COMPANY

(CRD.B)
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GAP insurance fraud: turns out, a picture does not tell a thousand words

07/20/2021 | 10:32am EDT
Key facts

A GAP claim was submitted to our client as a result of an alleged accident on 24 July 2020. The alleged accident occurred toward the end of a three-year policy term. A genuine claim would have netted the policyholder a significant payment to the tune of over £16k. The claim was sent to Crawford Legal Services' (CLS) counter fraud team for investigation and validation.

The motor insurer had paid the RTA claim. The GAP insurer's concerns could easily have been overlooked because photographs of the accident scene confirmed there had actually been a collision between the two vehicles. But as we know, sophisticated fraudsters are prepared to place accident-damaged vehicles together in an attempt to fool insurers.

Background

Concern about fraud heightened when the policyholder's husband, (who was the alleged driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident), was interviewed and appeared unable to recall the accident circumstances. In fact, he provided four different accounts of how the collision occurred.

The variable memory of the driver wasn't the only red flag. 'Usual suspect' accident management businesses, that were well known to CLS' counter-fraud team, had been involved in this claim.

Our thorough investigations ultimately revealed that the third party involved in the alleged accident had also been involved in a subsequent accident which had the exact same circumstances as our case.

As the claim progressed, the policyholder's husband (the driver) became so confused reaching the point where he wasn't even clear as to whether he was the driver or not. Although he finally decided he was the driver, it became apparent he could not have been travelling in the direction he claimed when the alleged accident occurred.

Our forensic motor engineer was able to establish that while the third-party vehicle had indeed hit the rear of the policyholder's vehicle, this was a deliberate act.

It became apparent that the third-party driver was part of a wider group involved in staging accidents. The claim was declined by CLS on the grounds of fraud.

Lessons learned

The motor insurer paid the claim without considering the possibility that a claim on a GAP insurance policy might represent a significant motive for fraud.

Fraudsters are increasingly willing to simulate genuine accidents and put accident-damaged vehicles together at the scene of alleged accidents. A picture doesn't always tell a thousand words!

Even when there are photographs of two (or more) damaged vehicles at the scene of an accident, there may be more to the story. If insurers suspect something isn't right based on initial investigations, it pays (literally) to get counter-fraud experts on the case.

For additional information please contact:

Peter Oakes
Head of Counter-Fraud, Crawford Legal Services
E:peter.oakes@crawco.co.uk

Disclaimer

Crawford & Company published this content on 20 July 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 20 July 2021 14:31:09 UTC.


ę Publicnow 2021
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