This month claims professionals and fraud investigators will note a trio of significant Supreme Court judgements, which could well reduce costs on some claims. One judgement on re-opening claims which may have been paid out in the past, despite an element of fraud, is especially significant.
We also look at the idea of 'collateral lies' and ponder on the impact of Companies House proposals to delete company – and director – records after just six years.
MIB Hails Court Ruling On Motor Claims Abroad
A recent test case in the Supreme Court saw a claim for damages under UK law rejected, and the claim to be processed under Greek law instead.
The claim arose as a result of injuries sustained by Tiffany Moreno from South Wales, after an accident involving an uninsured driver in Greece. The claimant felt that UK law, plus the MIB funding arrangements for such cases, offered a chance of higher compensation.
The Supreme Court ruled that each claim should be dealt with by each member state, thus preventing any `uninsured driver’ claims `tourism.’
In another UK Supreme Court judgement the insurance industry may well find life more expensive after a decision set a precedent on claims being rejected as ` a collateral lie.’
Insurance companies and brokers have long been aware of things like non-disclosure, or providing receipts for stolen or lost items. But the case of the Dutch cargo ship – Versloot Dredging vs HDI Gerling - where the crew lied about the exact cause of an engine room flood – means underwriters may well have to settle claims, even if some `white lies’ have been told.
The key phrase in the judgement is that `the lie is irrelevant to the existence of that entitlement’ (the claim itself). So the crux of the case is that if the claim is deemed valid, then a detail such as an incorrect occupation on a motor policy would be classed as having no impact on the claim’s validity.
Expect a wave of `librarians’ being insured later this year then…
Companies House Records Cull Could Help Fraudsters
Companies House is seeking to tidy up its filing system by automatically deleting records of companies, their directors and useful details like CCJs after just six years, instead of the current twenty year period.
Rachel Davies of Transparency International told UK media;
`These records enable law enforcement to investigate crime and businesses to check on clients.’
Companies House wants to automatically delete all records six years after a company has been dissolved or wound up. The proposals are still being debated.
Zurich Victory Means Claims Cases Can Be Re-Opened
The Hayward vs Zurich victory in the Supreme Court means that insurers can potentially go back and seek to claw back damages paid out – if new evidence comes to light.
The specific case saw Zurich pursue a claimant who was awarded over £134K for back injuries in the 1980s. But evidence of the claimant having recovered from his injuries was gathered after the settlement and the Supreme Court upheld the decision to re-examine the initial claim.
The judgement means that any insurer could potentially use evidence from CCTV, video clips or photos on social media, showing a claimant leading a normal, active life, which may counteract the `disabling’ long term effects of a claim