For All Vehicle Claims

Vehicle Theft

Vehicle theft – one stolen every six minutes

With a vehicle reported stolen every six minutes in the UK, CMA’s expert claims handlers ask the right questions to acquire verifiable facts. Our unique processes mean we are commonly the first to advise an insured that they can be reunited with their vehicle, reducing inconvenience and costs for all.

Automated daily assessments

We estimate that the cost of vehicle thefts to UK insurers is now around £1.5 billion a year and rising.

From the outset, we do not simply accept that a vehicle is recorded as lost or stolen (LoS) on the Police National Computer (PNC). We thoroughly check the vehicle registration mark (VRM) against multiple data sources.

Moreover, we discretely monitor the stolen status (PNC LoS register) and are alerted to any ‘unusual’ activity. To provide a more detailed picture, our new SwiftSearch tool crosschecks unique identifiers (such as phone number and VRM) with other public information. On occasion, we even help the police to amend their records.

An insured will be sent the ‘CMA guide’, explaining our involvement and how they can help to progress their claim. Concurrently, we investigate each claim’s multiple facets preinterview. The client’s preference of face-to-face, telephone interview or ‘managed conversation’ will then be arranged with the insured. Calls are recorded and securely stored.

Frequently, our immediate assessment of the data, and the knowledge we will monitor the stolen status, makes the decision straightforward.

The real cost

It was our Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request which led to the Home Office publishing a shocking new statistic: 101,198 vehicles were stolen in England and Wales alone in 2021, more than double the widely reported 48,000. But the number of offences is just one facet.  To understand the situation, you need to factor in:

  1. The increased values of vehicles,
  2. Plummeting recovery rates and
  3. The condition if found.

“Vehicle theft – the taking (stealing) of a vehicle without force – is now commonly alleged to occur by electronic security bypass.
However, police reports are largely unchanged from the 1970s, effectively recording:
“Vehicle left locked, secure, unattended, unable to assist re suspects”.
The investigation is therefore left to those with arguably the greatest interest in the vehicle – the insurer.”

Philip Swift*
CMA Managing Director

*Philip Swift is a member of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) UK, formerly membership secretary.