541m car insurance frauds uncovered

* 50 a year added to every policy * New Insurance Fraud Register * Register identifies fraudsters...

541m car insurance frauds uncovered

Car insurance fraud added 50 to every policyholder's annual bill last year, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The ABI released the information to support the launch of the Insurance Fraud Register, which is allows insurance companies to identify known insurance cheats before they strike again.

In 2011, 45,000 false or exaggerated claims worth 541 million were uncovered by insurance detectives. Most involved claims for whiplash.

In one case, Bedfordshire Police and the Insurance Fraud Bureau uncovered a staged motor accident gang believed to be involved in 180 staged and induced accidents, linked to 230 insurance claims worth 3.2 million. Prison sentences were handed down to 37 people.

The ABI said 2670 insurance con artists are apprehended every week in the UK for scams worth 19 million.

ABI chief Otto Thoresen said: 'The industry makes no apologies for its zero-tolerance approach to insurance fraud. Honest customers are sick of footing the bill for insurance cheats.

'The Insurance Fraud Register reinforces the message that cheats can expect difficulties in obtaining future insurance, credit and other financial products, as well as getting a criminal record.'

Emma Butcher