ERS has successfully pursued a private criminal prosecution against three fraudsters, who allegedly made false testimonies against one of the insurer’s clients in order to secure personal injury damages.
In his £63,000 personal injury claim, Jawed Iqbal claimed that the actions of an ERS client led to a collision involving his vehicle, despite the ERS client maintaining that the vehicle had been parked and unattended at the time of the accident. Iqbal’s claim included signed witness statements from Muhammad Naheem and Qasim Iqbal, which confirmed Iqbal’s story. But analysis of CCTV footage show that Iqbal’s version of events were false, which led to him withdrawing his claim.
The three individuals, who were taxi drivers in High Wycombe, were successfully convicted of fraud by misrepresentation. Iqbal received an 18-month suspended prison sentence, while his two accomplices each received a community order. All three lost their taxi licenses following the convictions.
A company release noted that this is the first time an insurer has used the Fraud Act 2006 to secure convictions against both a claimant as well as the witnesses supporting the claims. ERS added that this move reaffirms its “zero-tolerance” approach to motor insurance fraud.
“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,” the claims manager for ERS said in a statement. “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.”
The claims manager stated that while many people think insurance fraud is a victimless crime, it can lead to various knock-on impacts, such as causing mental/financial impacts to the other party, insurance premium increases for other drivers, and decreasing the performance of brokers’ 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,” the claims manager said.