Those Old Car Insurance Premium Blues

Damaged Car

Photo credit: Randall Rode

As an ex car insurance underwriter I know that people hate their premiums being increased. I mean that they really hate it. I remember many a long, painful conversation with people who genuinely couldn’t understand why they now had to pay more than last year’s premium.

Thankfully I quit the job well over a decade and all I have left of it is some outdated information on car groups and a nervous twitch which is activated by the phone going off…

However, I was interested to read about car insurance premiums the other day, for the first time in a long time. The story which got me interested is about a chap called Jonathan Wright. Mr Wright ran a breakdown service in the County Durham area.

The problem is that a lot of the breakdowns were caused by Mr Wright and his cronies. They had a scam (he’s been jailed for 7 years so I don’t need to say allegedly) in which they could cause accidents and then claim for things like whiplash, lost earnings and other matters.

A Hundred Pounds More in Premiums

The scheme is said to have earned millions of pounds for the ringleaders but the part which most interested me was that which had to do with the effect on car insurance premiums in the area. It seems that this gang caused so many claims to be made that premiums in the area shot up by £100 a year for motorists who were unlucky enough to live near Mr Wright and his band of merry car crashers in Derwentswide.

The plan was to crash into innocent drivers by braking sharply in front of them and then claim on their insurance. It is estimated that over £3 million was plundered from UK insurance companies with this scheme. The judge who sentenced Wright at Newcastle Crown Court said that he was both the “lynch pin” and the “major beneficiary”.

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