Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) recently launched the SafetyMobile App, a road safety phone application that educates users about staged collisions. Members of Toronto Police Service, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and Victims Services Ontario as well as hundreds of students attended the event held at Danforth Collegiate.
“IBC believes that teaching new drivers about road safety is very important,” said Ralph Palumbo, Vice-President, Ontario,IBC. “That’s why we launched this new road safety app. It not only encourages drivers to be safe on the road but raises awareness about a serious type of fraud that happens all too often in the Greater Toronto Area – staged collisions.”
A staged collision is no accident. It is a mimicked collision scenario that not only jeopardizes the safety of those on the road, it supports false auto insurance claims. Staged collisions include:
1. The Swoop and Squat
A “swoop” car, belonging to the fraudster, suddenly speeds up and cuts off a “squat” car with an innocent driver. Unable to stop in time, the squat car rear-ends the swoop car.
2. The Drive Down
The fraudster appears to yield and waves to an innocent driver to proceed with a merge or lane change. The victim merges, and then the fraudster drives into the victim, later denying that he or she waved the victim on.
3. The Sideswipe
The fraudster targets an innocent driver and purposely collides with the side of the victim’s vehicle. This usually occurs in busy intersections with dual left turn lanes.
Often linked to organized crime rings, staged collisions are just one part of the car accident business that increases costs in the Ontario auto insurance system. These fraudsters also falsify medical claims, exaggerate auto body repair costs, make up imaginary collisions and sell seats in their car to falsely claim insurance benefits.
“The Greater Toronto Area is the fraud capital of Canada. The “car accident business” is thriving and driving up insurance premiums for innocent drivers. This app will help raise awareness of this serious fraud so that people can detect it, avoid it and report it,” added Palumbo.
The idea for the app came from IBC’s SafetyMobile, a simulator that IBC takes to towns and cities across Ontario every summer to help encourage safe driving habits. It has all of the same features of a car and takes drivers through a number of driving scenarios to increase awareness of staged collisions.
“If you think you have witnessed or been a victim of an insurance crime, call IBC’s confidential, 24/7 tip line at 1-877-IBC-TIPS or submit an anonymous tip online,” encouraged Palumbo.