Ten arrested in police crackdown on commercial insurance fraud
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Ten people have been arrested across the country and 18 vehicles seized during a two-week police operation to tackle commercial insurance fraud.
The operation was executed by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) from 30 October to 10 November 2023.
Examples of insurance fraud targeted during this period included bogus claims on motor and business premises insurance, ghost brokers who sold fake motor insurance policies for vehicles used for business purposes, and fraudulent claims made by employees on their corporate benefit plans.
In one case, a former insurance broker was charged with 39 counts of fraud by false representation and one count of money laundering.
Detective Inspector Simon Klust, from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said:
“Commercial insurance fraud is never simply taking money from a company that can afford it. People who set themselves up as commercial ghost brokers leave drivers who believe they have bought a legitimate insurance policy uninsured. People who make fake claims on their corporate insurance plan or commit ‘crash for cash’ fraud using business vehicles push insurance premiums up for everyone else.
“Through this operation, we’re sending a clear message that we will disrupt the efforts of insurance fraudsters.”
From 7 to 9 November, officers from IFED executed a roads-based operation in the City of London that targeted the fraudulent use of commercial motor insurance policies.
An estimated total of 150 vehicles were stopped during the three-day period. Six people were arrested on suspicion of various offences including drug-driving, taking a vehicle without consent and the possession of false identity documents with improper intention. A total of 18 vehicles, which were driven without insurance, were seized.
The roads-based operation was supported by the City of London Police’s Roads Policing Unit (RPU), Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC), and insurers AXA, Allianz and Aviva.
Jon Radford, Head of Intelligence, Investigations and Data Services at the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), said:
"Commercial insurance fraud affects everyone; it makes consumers' premiums more expensive, and it can put innocent people at risk. For instance, more commercial ghost brokers mean a higher risk of innocent road users being involved in a collision with an uninsured vehicle.
"We're placing a greater focus on disrupting commercial insurance fraud in collaboration with IFED and insurers to stop the issue from becoming even more prevalent. We urge anyone who has information on commercial insurance fraud to report it to our confidential CheatLine."
During the operation, a former insurance broker was charged with 39 counts of fraud by false representation and one count of money laundering. Gary Whipps, 31, of Thundersley Church Road, Essex, is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on 1 December 2023.
Mark Allen, Assistant Director, Head of Fraud & Financial Crime at the Association of British Insurers, said:
“We know these are challenging times for many businesses facing higher operating costs, and insurers work hard to pay legitimate claims quickly. But committing insurance fraud is not the answer to raising money. It is a crime with far reaching consequences for the fraudster, including receiving a custodial sentence, and difficulty in getting future insurance. Neither is it a victimless crime, as ultimately it pushes up the cost of insurance for all honest customers. This is why we fully support initiatives like this to crack down on the cheats and protect honest insurance customers”.