News & Media Centre

1st Central and Keoghs, have joined forces to defeat an organised fraud ring which created contrived claims by posing as genuine policy holders. Tort of deceit claims were brought against the fraudsters, resulting in five consecutive trial wins and damages awarded totalling over £140k, including £60k in exemplary damages.

The scam involved individuals reporting an at-fault accident supported by personal and sensitive data. Claims would then be submitted from the driver and passengers in the third-party vehicle, which was alleged to have collided with the insured.

As the claims progressed, 1st Central identified several red flags: incidents occurring hundreds of miles from the customer's address, involving claimants who also lived long distances from the accident location; and with the same person phoning to report different incidents. Identifying these suggested that an individual was posing as different people to perpetrate the scam.

1st Central quickly identified the fraudulent activity and took swift action to prevent false claim payouts and ensure that customers did not face indirect premium increases as a result of falling victim to this scam.

In collaboration with Keoghs, 1st Central issued proceedings in the tort of deceit to recover monies paid out because of the false claims. Five claims proceeded to consecutive trials at Manchester County Court, where judgments were made in favour of 1st Central. The court awarded damages and exemplary damages to 1st Central.

Credit scores and premiums of customers that fell victim to the scam were not affected.

Paul Priestley, Counter Fraud Director at 1st Central, said: “1st Central is committed to rooting out fraud and protecting our customers. False claims like this ultimately push up costs for everybody, with genuine, paying customers often suffering as a result. To keep our prices competitive and ensure that customers feel safe and valued with us, we invest heavily in anti-fraud capabilities and always take decisive action against potential scammers.

“The recent judgments in our favour vindicate this approach and represent big wins for 1st Central, the wider industry and our customers against potentially fraudulent actors.”

Commenting on the result, Sarah Moat at Keoghs said: “This is a fantastic achievement and resulted from excellent teamwork between Keoghs and 1st Central. We will continue to ensure that policyholders are protected from insurance fraud by working diligently to spot incidences of fraud and then use the full power of the courts to ensure fraudsters are brought to justice.”