Motor insurance scams continue to top the list of fraudulent activity in the UK, both in terms of frequency and cost, with 55,000 dishonest claims costing £629 million detected in 2018, according to the Association of British Insurers. Yet telematics has the potential to make a significant dent in such fraudulent claims activity as a recent case managed by Crawford Legal Services proved.
The case in question was Wise v Hegarty & Alpha Insurance in which the activities of a personal injury claimant and a policyholder who had reported the accident were both found to be fundamentally dishonest based primarily on evidence-based on telematics data, even though the claimant did not attend and the first defendant attended maintaining that a collision had occurred.
There is a high bar to persuade a judge to make a finding of fundamental dishonesty in situations where either the claimant discontinues the case, or parties fail to attend. In this instance, however, despite the fact that the claimant was not in attendance and the defendant was still seeking to allege that the accident occurred, the Crawford Legal Services (CLS) team were able to convince the judge to review the evidence of a dishonest activity being made against both parties.
A key factor was the team’s success in a previous case – Alpha Insurance v Lorraine Roache and Brendan Roache – where a decision by a County Court judge to refuse to hear evidence in a case where fundamental dishonesty was raised in the defence when a notice of discontinuance was served the day before the trial was overruled at the High Court.
In the case of Wise v Hegarty & Alpha Insurance, the claimant had brought an action against the defendant for damages resulting from a road traffic accident. However, the CLS team had been able to use telematics data sourced from the defendant’s vehicle to show that not only had the car been stationary at the stated time of the accident, but also that it was located 2.7 miles from the site of the incident.
Nick Street, telematics claims services senior manager for Trak Global, which provided the data, acted as an expert witness in the case. He was able to demonstrate based on the satellite information exactly where the vehicle was positioned at the time of the accident, and that it was stationary. Based on this evidence, which the judge found to be both compelling and reliable, it was stated that the accident could not have happened and both the claimant and the first defendant were found to have been fundamentally dishonest.
There are two stand-out results from this case. Firstly, that even though the claimant failed to attend we were able to rely upon our previous case win to convince the judge to proceed with the trial. And secondly, that telematics provided the data-based evidence that enabled the judge to brand the claim and the defendant, who was in attendance as fraudulent.
While telematics is still in its relative infancy as a means of proving fraudulent activity in motor cases, successes such as this case will undoubtedly help encourage more insurance companies to adopt such technology in the fight against dishonest claimants and in this case defendants.
At Crawford, such data forms one part of the array of capabilities and technologies that we use to root out instances of fraudulent motor claims. From eagle-eyed adjusters highly trained in spotting signs of dishonest activity to our ability to capitalize on the country-wide capabilities of WeGoLook, our 4,500-strong on-demand team of Lookers to gather critical data in the aftermath of an incident, we are able to play our part in reducing the impact of fraud on the insurance industry.