LV= General Insurance, AXA and 1st CENTRAL work with Keoghs fraud team to identify an intricate web of organised fraud
Keoghs fraud rings and intelligence teams have combined with LV=, AXA and 1st CENTRAL to identify a complex network of organised fraud involving deliberately induced accidents, with the operation saving over £1.2 million to date, and five recent litigated cases alone saving around £1 million.
The accidents all involved similar circumstances with the insured driver travelling behind the claimant, who would then brake excessively, alleging that a vehicle had pulled in front of them or that they were slowing for traffic. The insured drivers all identified that the actions of the claimants were unnecessary and left them unable to avoid a collision. In order to maximise the fraud, the claimants would ensure there were passengers in their vehicle at the time of the accident.
Following a forensic review of intelligence and dashcam footage, Keoghs and the three insurers identified significant commonalities and links between the claimants across five claims, including the same solicitors, credit hire companies and engineers.
Keoghs was able to identify that one of the claimants had 16 accidents in a seven year period, 10 of which were rear impacts. Dashcam footage revealed that one of the vehicles involved was actually hired by another of the claimants within the scam. Investigations also included evidence that the claimants had incepted insurance policies in close proximity to the accidents in furtherance of the fraud.
Following defences being presented, one claimant discontinued with Keoghs applying for a finding of fundamental dishonesty. Given the clear links with the other cases, the court stayed this application pending the conclusion of the other live claims.
The remaining claimants’ solicitors applied to come off the court record, however given the strength of evidence involved Keoghs successfully requested that all cases be heard consecutively at trial.
As the trial date approached, one claimant was able to source alternative legal representation, whilst the other three represented themselves and were required to attend court. One claimant failed to engage in the litigation process and his claim was struck out with an enforceable costs order.
The remaining three, despite resolutely denying that they knew anything of the other parties, failed to engage fully with the court’s directions. One claimant completely ignored the entire Directions Order, despite being in attendance at the hearing. Meanwhile, when faced with the extent of the defendant’s evidence, the new legal representatives also applied to come off the court record.
The trials commenced at the end of November in a five day block list. Two of the claimants failed to attend, resulting in the court striking out the claims and awarding the defendants’ costs of the action via enforceable costs orders.
The remaining claimant proceeded to trial and performed poorly as a witness. His claim was dismissed and found to be fundamentally dishonest, resulting in the dismissal of the claim and the defendants’ costs of the action again awarded by way of an enforceable costs order.
Upon conclusion of the cases, the court then found the claimant who had initially discontinued to be fundamentally dishonest, awarding the defendant another enforceable costs order.
The five litigated cases resulted in savings of around £850,000, with the enforceable costs orders totaling in excess of £115,000 plus the additional recovery of interim payments made to the claimants. When passenger claims are added, savings over the five accidents are expected to exceed £1 million. To date savings on the operation as a whole are in excess of £1.2 million.
The presentation of evidence across this fraud ring was vital in identifying the prolific and calculated attempts of the claimants to induce accidents for the purpose of financial gain, with dashcam footage and insured drivers’ evidence particularly pivotal in defeating the claims. These cases illustrate what can be achieved when the industry joins together to stamp out organised fraud and is an excellent outcome for all involved.
Matt Crabtree, Head of Fraud Strategy at LV= General Insurance commented: “This fantastic result demonstrates the benefits of working collaboratively across the industry to tackle organised fraud, to find connections between the parties who are working together. Organised criminals cause a real risk to members of the public, slamming on their brakes to induce collisions and pursue fraudulent claims. This outcome, supported by Keoghs highlights why we’re committed to tackling fraud, by defending these claims and pursuing those responsible for the costs.”
Tom Wilson, Senior Counter Fraud Operations Manager for AXA, said: “We’re pleased with the positive outcome of this case and hope this example acts as a deterrent to those who consider repeating these actions. This type of fraud is dangerous to innocent motorists so it is essential that we collaborate across our industry to bring perpetrators to justice. Insurance fraud is a serious crime which has significant consequences for fraudsters. Fraudulent claims result in higher insurance premiums for honest customers as insurers are faced with increased costs. That’s why AXA works hard to prevent fraud by investigating suspicious claims and by taking fraudulent claimants to court when necessary.”
Paul Priestley, 1st CENTRAL’s Counter Fraud Director, added: “This was some superb work from Keoghs to bring all the evidence together, and also a great example of collaboration between insurers to ensure we send a clear message that we’ll fight fraud cross-industry.”
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