Bad news spread around for insurers and manufacturers

Van insurance news roundup: 7 days ending 24 MAR 2013:

Not only has it been revealed that insurers have been strung up by a recent massive ‘crash for cash’ car insurance scheme, vehicle production in he UK is down.

The scheme, run by a gang of at least 60 criminals in County Durham, was so widespread and responsible for so much in ridiculously overblown insurance claims that area motorists saw their car and van insurance costs soar by around £100 a year, experts say. On top of that, it was revealed by Durham Police that the masterminds of the criminal ring was actually a family affair, with many of the key members of the gang were members of the Burnhope-based Wright family.

All of this went down last March, but it’s only until now that a reporting ban has been lifted, and now everyone is absolutely agog at how widespread the fraud activity was. The scam was incredibly complex, involving accidents staged by motorists braking suddenly at junctions, which would cause the car behind to shunt into them, and sometimes both drivers were in on the whole thing in order to maximise the amount of cash they could get from insurers in the form of spurious whiplash claims.

This is absolutely the best part though: these enterprising bastards also had their own auto recovery firm, Craghead-based PJ Autos, which would not just remove vehicles from crash sites and then bill insurers for the service but also hire cars and vans out to anyone involved in the accident – again charging both commercial van insurance and personal car insurance providers alike. However, things began to unravel once the police discovered that somehow the car hire firm hired out the same car to not just one person at a time but four different people, and this was but one bit of evidence that eventually resulted in a massive number of arrests and convictions.

Luckily the police caught these criminals, but the damage has already been done. Hopefully things will begin to recover, but there’s more bad news for the auto industry: The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders discovered that February’s vehicle production figures in the UK were down overall, indicating that sales may be on the decline as well.

The SMMT did the maths and found that there were 0.7 per cent fewer vehicles built last month than in February of 2012. That may not seem like much, but that’s more than 137,000 vehicles all told.

Insurance policy holders and UK motorists are still purchasing cars, according to SMMT chief executive Mike Baunton, as he blamed the drop-off on the export market declining by around 10 per cent. The eurozone’s economic instability is the culprit, added Mr Baunton, but he spun the news by remarking that last year’s figures were so high that a 0.7 per cent overall drop is something the industry should be able to absorb without much worry; I hope he’s right!

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