‘Staged’ collisions: Dangerous & costly for drivers

It’s like a scene right out of a movie – maybe a horror movie.

A seemingly friendly and courteous driver waves your car ahead through the intersection, then suddenly surges forward intentionally and rams his vehicle into yours, causing a major collision.

Shocking, to say the least. 

This is just one example of a trend in auto insurance fraud known as “staged collisions” that is contributing to a serious insurance fraud problem driving up rates for honest drivers.

A staged collision is when one or multiple parties orchestrate a collision in order to obtain a claim payout for damage to the vehicle or accident benefits coverage.

Staged collision participants are trying to get cash for injuries that never occurred.  The consequences if you are convicted of insurance fraud are severe, it can negatively impact a person’s immigration, residence, or employment status.

Aviva Canada warns all drivers that staged collisions do not only involve willing criminal participants. They also involve honest, unsuspecting drivers who are either purposefully hit or deliberately put in scenarios where collisions are inevitable.

It has to stop. Not only is a serious fraud being committed, but innocent lives are being put at risk and public resources are tied up to respond to these staged collisions. That’s why police forces across Canada are working with insurance companies to crack down on staged collisions.

Toronto Police Service recently laid charges against four individuals involved in allegedly staging an auto accident. The purported collision in the city’s west end resulted in over $45,000 in claims costs to two automobile insurance companies – costs that are then ultimately paid by other, honest drivers through higher premiums.

In this case, after fraudulent activity was suspected, Aviva Canada and another insurer involved in the claim retained engineers to reconstruct the reported accident and concluded that one of the vehicles had deliberately hit the other vehicle multiple times.

The vehicle insured by Aviva contained two occupants who both had medical treatment costs submitted on their behalf by a west-end Toronto clinic.  Evidence collected during the investigation revealed that the vehicle occupants were asked to sign multiple treatment plans by employees at the clinic, in order to benefit from accident benefits coverage.

The stakes are high. Across Canada, insurance fraud costs consumers more than $1 billion per year. Where does that money come from? Honest drivers.

That’s why Aviva takes a zero tolerance approach to fraud. We want to protect our honest customers.  Anyone found to have staged a collision may have their claim denied and could lose their insurance. They may also face criminal charges. 

If you want to pay lower auto insurance premiums, help us expose fraudsters.

If you know of a staged collision or suspect that you have been innocently involved in a staged collision, report it to Aviva Canada’s Fraud Information Centre, available 24/7 by calling 1-855-332-5355 or emailing anti-fraud_management@avivacanada.com.