Three taxi drivers have been prosecuted for fraud after making false allegations worth £63,000 against a motorist in an effort to secure personal injury damages.
According to ERS it is the first time an insurer has used the Fraud act to secure convictions against both a claimant as well as the witnesses supporting the claim.
According to the insurance firm, Mr Jawed Iqbal’s large £63,000 personal injury claim alleged that the actions of an ERS client had caused a collision involving his vehicle, despite the client protesting that the vehicle had been parked and unattended at the time of the accident.
The claim included signed witness statements from Mr Muhammad Naheem and Mr Qasim Iqbal confirming Mr Iqbal’s story. However, CCTV analysis showed that this version of events to be demonstrably false, leading Mr Iqbal to withdraw his claim.
All three individuals, who were employed as taxi drivers in High Wycombe, were successfully convicted of fraud by misrepresentation. The Claimant received an 18-month suspended prison sentence and the two witnesses each received a community order. All three parties lost their taxi licences as a result of their convictions.
According to ERS, fraudulent claims cost insurers more than £600 million each year. It is one of the first cases where an insurer has successfully secured a conviction against fraudulent witness claims, and one of the first times an insurer has secured a production order for the release of a claimant’s personal injury file to support the prosecution.
ERS’ Claims Manager said: “ERS has a zero-tolerance for fraud. We do everything we can to detect fraud and discourage fraudulent behaviour by taking tough action against perpetrators. Even though Mr Iqbal withdrew his claim when presented with our evidence, we took the decision that his attempt to commit fraud was so serious that we had no choice but to pursue a criminal prosecution.
“Many people think that insurance fraud is a victimless crime, but there are significant knock-on impacts. Fraudulent claims have a mental and financial impact to the other party, they increase insurance premiums for other drivers and decrease the performance of our broker’s business.
“In this case, the deception and misrepresentation of events and signing of false witness statements is an act of wilful deception, and we hope that this successful prosecution will encourage other insurers to take similar action and protect customers and brokers.”