Fraud recovery: judgment for £ 39,000 including £ 15,000 of exemplary costs


Pryzbylska (P) was the registered owner of a Maserati Quadraporte. However, everything indicated that the real owner of the car was his daughter Stojek (S). The financing and insurance of the car was in P’s name, although S put £ 12,000 on a credit card to purchase the car. S, however, was the GAP insurance policy holder and driver at the time of the alleged total loss incident. S had also been the driver of the car when it was involved in two previous accidents.

S, owner of an accident management company advising East Europeans residing in the UK, said she was involved in a traffic accident on a roundabout in West Bromwich. The third driver, Grabowski (L), did not give way and crashed into the side of S’s moving vehicle. The Maserati sustained damage to both nearby side doors and, significantly, to the roof. The claim for total loss was presented to the auto insurer. Initially, they were concerned that S’s claim form would list three passengers. However, S confirmed that she was alone in the car, allaying any concerns about her credibility. The full loss has been paid and a claim has been made to the insurer GAP for £ 22,140.

This was a three-year-old RTI GAP police force and the alleged accident occurred within the last police week. The insurer GAP noted S’s business. The Maserati MOT had just expired. The damage to the roof of S’s car in particular appeared to be inconsistent with the accident.

Crawford Legal Services (CLS) was tasked with validating the request. P did not speak English, but CLS got a statement translated by S’s husband. A commitment was also obtained to use a freelance translator, but this commitment was not honored.

S confirmed that when the accident occurred his speed was 10/15 mph and G was driving 25 / mph when the collision occurred. G refused to cooperate with the validation process. CLS obtained forensic engineering evidence – the damage to the Maserati had occurred while the car was stationary; or has been struck several times, or has occurred when the vehicle’s ignition was turned off.

CLS said the claim for GAP should be denied. The insurer GAP took our advice and refused the claim.

The GAP insurers then instructed CLS to recover its costs, to request a declaration of staging of the accident and to obtain exemplary damages. S and P continued to deny that the accident was staged. G simply ignored all correspondence and took no part in the proceedings that followed. S and P filed a defense and the case went to Walsall County Court on October 27, 2021. At the eleventh hour, with the trial about to begin, S and P threw in the towel by consenting to judgment against them on a joint and several basis of £ 34,000, including £ 5,000 in general damages. G was also ordered to pay £ 5,000 in exemplary damages and made jointly and severally liable for the remaining costs and damages with S and P.

This claim emphasizes that insurers should consider taking steps to discourage fraudulent claims.

Recently, CLS has been following the evolution of the profile of insurance fraudsters. We are now seeing more and more of both the need and the greed that are driving increasing levels of insurance fraud on the part of businesses and professionals as well as individuals facing financial hardship.

Again, in this claim, as we often see, the auto insurer was unaware of the existence of the GAP insurance policy and the inevitable claim that could have transformed their initial point of view according to which the claim should be paid without a validation exercise. The lesson: When evaluating every total loss of road traffic claim, first check if there is an APM policy in place!

Disclaimer

Crawford & Company published this content on 22 November 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on November 22, 2021 10:27:02 PM UTC.


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