Growing concern of organised fraud in Scotland needs collective response, says DWF
International Law Firm DWF’s Counter Fraud Team has called for a greater collective response to organised fraud in Scotland in the face of growing concern about a rise in fraudulent injury claims.
The call for a collective response was made at the law firm’s Scottish Forum on organised fraud, held in both Glasgow and London earlier this month. The two events brought together major insurers and other key industry figures to discuss the issue of organised fraud in Scotland and how the industry should be working together to combat the migration of organised fraud into Scotland from England and Wales.
In August last year, DWF highlighted Department of Work and Pensions figures that showed a 16.6% increase in injury claims over the past four years in Scotland, compared to a 4.5% decrease in England over the same period.
Speaking at the Forum, Lorraine Carolan, DWF’s National Head of Counter Fraud said: “The industry needs to collaborate in the fight against fraud. The cost and compensation regime in England and Wales has resulted in a significant migration of fraudsters north of the border. Working with Police Scotland, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Government, we can really make a difference.
“Leveraging data to optimise counter fraud performance in the areas of intelligence such as profiling, telematics and the sharing of findings is crucial to knowing your opponent and tackling fraudsters and their enablers at source.”
Alistair Ross, Assistant Director and Head of Public Policy for Scotland, Wales & NI at the ABI said: “We welcome raising awareness of organised fraud and the costs of this illegitimate industry. Scotland does not want to see cash-for-crash criminals operating here exploiting drivers and defrauding insurers which pushes up the cost of motoring.”
Jill Sinclair, DWF’s Head of Counter Fraud in Scotland added: “The Government’s announcement on 23 February to introduce a tariff system for all whiplash claims with a prognosis of 24 months or less will have important ramifications for the Scottish claims landscape.
“When these reforms are implemented via the Prisons and Courts Bill next year, personal injury claimants in Scotland will receive on average seven times more compensation for an injury sustained over 4 to 6 months compared to the same injury in England. This will no doubt attract claims management companies to Scotland. Of more concern when considering the less scrupulous amongst them, is the fact such companies are unregulated in Scotland, unlike in England.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson, said: “Police Scotland’s Economic Crime Unit West were delighted to take part in the DWF Organised Fraud Forum. It is the first time we have collaborated directly with solicitors in Scotland with regard to insurance fraud and the forum allowed us to engage with key players in the insurance industry to advise them what evidence is necessary for fraud prosecutions. We are keen to continue to work with DWF and insurers to combat fraud.”
DWF’s Scottish Forum also discussed the issue of the ‘Insider Threat’, and how wide scale organised fraud, if left untapped, threatens many of their clients’ operations.