Managing Director of Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA), Philip Swift, a former police detective, has provided expert insight for a Channel 5 exposé on crash for cash criminal activity.
Swift has helped the makers of the fifth programme in the Undercover Criminal series, which will be screened on Channel 5 tonight at 10pm, to understand how organised gangs think about and organise staged accidents.
During the programme, investigative journalist Paul Connolly goes further than any other TV reporter by actually being involved in a car crash staged by a gang to fleece insurance firms. He takes a front seat as the fake accident happens.
Swift said: “So-called crash for cash scams have been around since at least the mid-1990s, but over the last few years both the police and the insurance industry have become far more adept at identifying them. There have been several high profile convictions and the message finally seems to be getting across that this is far from a victimless crime.
“First and foremost there’s the innocent drivers targeted in staged accidents, for whom it can be a shocking experience. Further to that, every motorist likely suffers from increased premiums to cover the costs associated with exaggerated or fraudulent claims. Finally, and perhaps worst of all from the law-abiding person’s perspective, genuine claims can be treated with an element of suspicion thanks to a small minority who abuse the system.
Swift added that those who have received unwarranted payment for non-existent injuries should consider the fact that they will never be in the clear.
“By taking the money they have committed a criminal offence and there is no time limit on the police making enquiries. Those in the process of making such a claim should stop and think hard: is it really worth it?
“Surely nobody wants their face in the papers, and online forever, for something like this.”