Insurance fraud is any act committed with the intent to obtain a fraudulent outcome from an insurance process.
The incidences of cars pulling in front of trucks to intentionally collide are increasing. Many motor carriers are not aware of this growing problem. These scams are not only dangerous, but raise everyone’s insurance premiums.
Fact: Since 2008 car-semitrailer insurance fraud has grown 24 percent nationwide.
Called a “staged wreck,” it involves a car slowing down or suddenly stopping in front of a truck or tractor-trailer so it is rear-ended. Shortly after an insurance claim is filed against the motor carrier.
Staged accidents are schemes in which an accident is predetermined to occur on a vehicle. The schemes are organized by rings and the culprits move from one area to another. They often use the same vehicle over and over, which is sometimes what causes their scheme to be uncovered. Insurance Fraud Handbook
Insurance Fraud Countermeasures
How can a driver or motor carrier protect themselves against insurance fraud?
The number one tool to fight insurance fraud is awareness of the problem, to avoid being victimized by the scammers.
• Report suspected fraud to your insurance company. More than 4 of 5 insurers have trained insurance fraud investigators.
• Drivers should never tailgate and learn to watch out for a setup.
Swoop and squat: A suspect vehicle suddenly swoops in front of you and jams on the brakes, causing a rear-end collision.
Drive down: You’re trying to merge into traffic, and a dishonest driver slows down and waves you forward. He then crashes into your vehicle, but denies waving you into traffic and blames the accident on you. Crooked drivers may also wave you out of a parking space with the same come-on.
Sideswipe: Be careful if you’re driving in the inner lane of a dual left-turn lane at a busy intersection. Crooks will deliberately ram you if you drift into the outer lane while turning. Coalition Against Insurance Fraud
All drivers need to be well versed on defensive driving practices and techniques. If a crash does happen, be observant.
• Never tailgate : allow plenty of space between your car and the car ahead of you. This will give you ample time to stop if the lead car suddenly jams on its brakes.
• Look beyond the car in front of you while driving. Apply your brakes if you see traffic slowing.
• Count how many passengers were in the other vehicle if you’re in a collision. Get their names, phone numbers and driver’s license : more people may file claims than were in the car. Also get the car’s license number. Note: Keep a pen and paper in your glove compartment so you’re always ready.
• How do the passengers behave? Did they stand around and joke, but suddenly act “injured” when the police arrived?
• Take cell-phone pictures of the other car, the damage it received — and the passengers.
• Call the police to the scene. Get a police report with the officer’s name, even for minor damage. If the police report notes just a small dent or scratch, it’ll be harder for crooks to later claim serious injuries or car damage.
• Get involved if you’re a witness. Watch for the warning signs of a scam, and help the honest victim with details. Coalition Against Insurance Fraud
Motor carriers are also installing Event Recording Devices to capture crash details on video. One large motor carrier will install over 6,000 devices in its fleet.
Will your company be the next victim?
Thank you for reading this.