Sunday 20 October 2019

Watch: Insurance scammers stage road crashes for fraudulent claims

Credit: RTÉ Prime Time
Credit: RTÉ Prime Time
Credit: RTÉ Prime Time
Credit: RTÉ Prime Time Newsdesk Newsdesk

New footage of insurance scammers staging road crashes in order to lodge fraudulent claims has been broadcast for the first time.

Gardai filmed the footage, broadcast on RTE's Prime Time, that shows two crashes which were found to have been faked for insurance purposes.

Speaking to a former Garda Drug Trafficking and organised crime officer, reporter Fran McNulty hears that organised criminals are using insurance fraud to finance their criminal network.

In one of the clips, broadcast on Tuesday night, the aftermath of a crash between a van and a car is shown.

A car can be seen arriving on scene and two men exit this car and get into the crashed car.

It is only then that the emergency services are called to the late night incident.

In a separate piece of footage, the driver of a van that was rear ended by a car, instructs the man who crashed into him, to “move back and do it one more time”.

Fraud Manager with Aviva Insurance Rob Smyth told RTÉ Prime Time that he is "quite satisfied that criminals are using insurance fraud as a way of funding their lifestyle".

Credit: RTÉ Prime Time
Credit: RTÉ Prime Time
Credit: RTÉ Prime Time

"Unfortunately when police officers are stopping these people with cash, most of them have had an insurance claim in the past and it justifies having possession of that ten thousand euro of cash or that twenty thousand euro of cash, but the fact of the matter is, it is covering up their criminal activities,” he said.

People are flying into Ireland as a result of the high levels of payouts for whiplash and soft tissue injuries here, the programme also reports.

According to Prime Time, these fraudsters are then hiring cars and crashing them.

Hertz's Michael Brennan tells RTÉ Prime Time that 20pc of its insurance reserve is set aside for suspected fraudulent claims.

 “We have seen accidents staged within as little as thirty minutes from the time of the rental, in some instances with rentals as short as 24 hours," he said.

"But, within that period a road traffic accident is taking place resulting in multiple injuries but when examined at a closer level the circumstances of the accident, the circumstances of the rental and the testimony of our renter appears highly incredible”.

Insurance Ireland tells RTÉ Prime Time that the payouts here are so out of kilter with other countries that fraud tourism and fraudulent claims are leading to what they term a “propensity” of people engaging in the illegal behaviour.

Every person that features in the footage, except for one, have been charged and convicted of offences.

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