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'Crash for cash' claim doubts

INSURANCE industry 'crash for cash' claims have been called into question by a leading law firm which has mounted a six-month investigation into allegations that the scams counted for one in seven personal injury cases.

Thompsons Solicitors said its own probe could find no evidence to back up claims in a report by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) in January 2013 that "one in seven" personal injury claims are linked to crash-for-cash scams, said to cost the industry £392 million per year.

A separate report by Westminster's Transport Select Committee estimated that fraudulent personal injury claims cost £811m in 2013.

However, Tom Jones, of Thompsons, said a series of freedom of information requests to eight police forces across the UK found that almost all forces had no record of handling any crash-for-cash cases. Only Derbyshire reported two fraudulent traffic accidents in 2011, but none since.

Ben Fletcher, IFB director, said: "The 'crash for cash' statistics published in 2012 were calculated using a robust methodology, which valued organised fraud rings identified by the IFB's advanced software within cross-industry claims data. 'Crash for cash' remains a significant threat to the insurance industry, with the IFB currently managing 110 live investigations valued at over £120m."

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