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Criminal gangs at heart of new ‘flash for crash’ trend sweeping the UK

August 19, 2013

Whatever will they think of next? There’s a new craze in motor insurance fraud rising in prevalence since the beginning of the year.  “Flash for crash” is the latest bash fraud rings are having at getting cash from a smash to top up their stash.

Okay, enough of the ash tagging, already. Flash for crash is fast becoming a prominent issue. And not only for the individual victims but the knock-on effect to all motorists could be palpable, too.

This new antic is set to be the next big thing to ‘push the cost of car insurance up’ now that traditional causes of whiplash have been shown up for what they are; or weren’t, as the case may now be.

How does “flash for crash” work?

The Guardian’s article was pretty brief with the details. Hardly surprising as the premise is hardly the work of Einstein’s great grandson, even if a former D.I. from West Midlands police accredited the tactic “more sophisticated.”

APU, an asset protection team made up of mainly ex-police officers, has been at the heart of the new findings. Their experience in motor fraud has helped identify the new phenomenon as a twist on the more common “crash for cash”.

The somewhat dangerous activity, already being associated with fraud rings, can leave the innocent victims traumatised at the very least.

And despite many commenters assuming that the ruse is a way for people to claim on their car insurance for damage or to get a car written off, it’s not.

Flash for crash just another personal injury ruse

Drivers looking for victims lurk around the exits of car parks, shopping centres, anywhere where there’s an exit onto a main road, and flash a waiting driver they see trying to pull out.

As the driver, believing they’ve been given right of way, noses into the road, the flasher accelerates.

The innocent victim inadvertently side-winds the fraudster who then proceeds to claim for personal injury, not a crafty claim to get an old car written off as many are suggesting.

At least that’s the view of the RAC’s commercial director, Kerry Michael.

At a time when insurers have been told to get their own acts in order and there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel for motorists sick of paying over the odds for car insurance, “flash for crash” may well dash those hopes.

Kerry is under no illusion, citing this fraudulent activity as the responsibility of organised crime. It’s big money. The Insurance Fraud Bureau has isolated 49 gangs and is investigating their part in the scam that costs £392M a year.

The gangs under suspicion are estimated to contribute £66M to that figure, covering almost 70,000, or 14%, of the spurious injury claims.

Are dashboard cameras the answer?

This could be big business for the makers of dashboard cameras, too. The public are incensed, if you read the comments beneath the tabloids’ articles.

Their main concern is that not enough people are aware of the fact that flashing headlights is only supposed to identify yourself as a warning to other drivers.

If someone flashes you it is not, according to the Highway Code, the signalled intent of the foregoing the right of way, despite the action being accepted as such by the majority of drivers.

It’s this assumption that the criminal gangs hell-bent on claiming as much as they can for personal injury are playing on.

And, technically, the driver pulling out is in the wrong. What’s more, in a ‘my-word-against-yours’ court case, in the instance of a Flash for crash, the innocent victim will always lose.