Insurance fraud uncovered by telematics

Insurance companies are now fighting fraudulent claims by using driving data and reports of journeys recorded in black boxes installed under car dashboards.

For the first time, an insurer has been able to use the information from the black box technology, or telematics, to successfully prove in court that an accident was fraudulent, according to a story on Money Mail.

In the case, specialist firm Insure The Box fought off a £10,000 claim from a driver who said he had suffered whiplash in an accident caused by one of its customers.

It also showed the driver had a crash the previous day, but had failed to report it. Industry experts have hailed the court success as a major step in the fight against insurance fraud.

But data protection specialists have warned it is another sinister example of how insurers are watching our every move.

Under the Data Protection Act, insurers are not allowed to pass on the data from a black box to another company or sell it to marketing agencies without explicit permission.

They typically keep the records for six years before destroying them. The police can access this information with a court order — though this normally happens only with very serious cases.

But insurers are increasingly using the data they collect to root out fraudulent insurance claims.

Insure The Box says its anti-fraud team challenges around 100 suspicious claims a week using data collected from policyholders.

Yet the £10,000 claim that it had overturned last month was the first to have got to court.

The case came about after its customer, Tom McHugh, 29, from Doncaster, crashed his BMW into the back of a Ford Transit driven by Daniel Fletcher, 30, on the A638 Great North Road, south of Doncaster, on April 14, 2013.

A few days after the accident, Fletcher made a £10,000 claim for damage to his Ford Transit and alleged he was suffering whiplash.