ATA, insurance groups vow to fight tow fraud and staged accidents

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American Trucking Associations, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, and the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud have announced a plan to pool their resources to pursue laws to address two of trucking’s biggest problems – tow fraud and staged accidents.

In an April 5 statement, ATA said its most recent survey of nearly 200 road hauliers found that 77% of those polled when choosing a towing company identified law enforcement transfers as problematic, and 70% said they had serious problems getting theirs Release cargo after a towing service.

The joint statement states that staged crash rings are also a dangerous and ubiquitous problem for the trucking industry. They cited a New Orleans crash ring that made recent headlines while conspiring with personal injury attorneys suspected of facilitating false court claims.

“The partnership brings together the largest property and casualty insurance and trucking associations in the country and combines them with the coalition’s impressive credibility and voice in insurance fraud,” said Matthew Smith, executive director of Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, in the joint statement . “When it comes to changing the landscape for policyholders in the specific arena of towing and staged casualty fraud with these three organizations, the possibilities are endless.”

Brumbaugh (Transportation Themes)

Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, chairwoman of the ATA, president of Findlay, Ohio-based Garner Transportation Group, said motor companies are increasingly concerned about the impact of robbery tows and staged accidents affecting their businesses.

“By joining APCIA and the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, we are confident that we can put an end to these unscrupulous and unethical practices,” said Brumbaugh.

The group said in local jurisdictions that tow companies are abusing insurers and accident victims by showing up to locations without permission or being hired by authorities who receive kickbacks to tow unsuspecting vehicle owners at exorbitant rates. The towing services also often include unreasonable storage and access charges.

“We know from our members that some of the most egregious examples of abuse result from accidents involving commercial vehicles,” said Robert Passmore, APCIA vice president of auto and claims policy. “We look forward to working with the other members of the CAIF and ATA to address these issues across the country.”

The announcement of the partnership comes after the formation of a new ATA-led task force set up in response to trucking companies reporting on towage abuses in an industry-wide study.

In some states, it is not uncommon for a tow truck driver to arrive at an accident scene unsolicited, pull a trailer truck out of a ditch, tow it and present an inflated bill to the local carrier and even hold the carrier’s truck hostage until the bill is paid, said Jennifer Wieroniey, executive director of ATA’s National Accounting & Finance Council.

As an example, Wieroniey cited a case last year where a Wisconsin trucking company had a big surprise when one of its tractor units carrying a truckload of cheese had to be pulled out of a ditch on Interstate 64 in central Virginia and US 202,000 – Dollars were billed for removal and towing.

CONTINUE READING: Officials cite the $ 202,000 tow bill as a textbook example of a scam

The partnership announced that it will shortly publish a guide on how to avoid being a victim of billing fraud before and after being towed. Simple steps like documenting equipment on site and educating drivers not to sign “tow consent” can save carriers thousands of dollars and hours of wasted time, the press release said.

“The momentum behind these issues is growing, and changes at the federal and state levels could happen very soon,” it said.

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