Latest case report from NFU Mutual;
An insurance fraudster who tried to claim £54,000 for 40 years’ worth of gardening has been found fundamentally dishonest by a judge and added to the insurance fraud register. The woman in her 30s tripped at her Derby place of work while walking along a new, designated path in the dark. She tore a ligament in her left ankle and her employer accepted liability for the injury.
However, in making her claim to her employer, the woman claimed extra damages of £54,000, which she said were for gardening services and were calculated based on eight hours gardening each week for 40 years. NFU Mutual, the commercial insurer which provides cover for the company, said the claim was exaggerated and dishonest. Counter fraud investigators at the insurer uncovered social media posts which suggested the woman’s injuries and limitations were less severe than she claimed. They also found the garden in question was small and would not require 40 years of gardening
Perhaps realising she had been found out, the woman tried to withdraw the claim and also said she had never intended the £54,000 gardening figure detailed in her statement to form part of her claim. When asked in cross-examination, however, the woman admitted she would have taken the £54,000 if it had been offered. Judge DDJ Najib, sitting at Derby County Court, found the woman to be evasive and did not accept the attempt to backtrack, finding her to be fundamentally dishonest.
Holly Robson, Counter Fraud Specialist at NFU Mutual, said:
“This fraudster’s fanciful claim for over £50,000 worth of gardening – on what is a small garden – is unfortunately typical of the thousands of ordinary people who try to defraud businesses and individuals each year with exaggerated or fabricated insurance claims.
“Insurance fraudsters might think it’s a victimless crime, but inflating or inventing injury or loss can have serious consequences if it goes undetected. Honest customers might suffer through higher premiums and local employers or individuals could be put through financial stress because of the opportunistic actions of a fraudster. That’s why NFU Mutual is determined to stand up for its customers and call out insurance fraud wherever we see it.”
Claire Laver, Head of Market and Strategy for Fraud from DAC Beachcroft, the law firm which successfully repudiated the fraudulent claim on behalf of NFU Mutual, said:
“The Claimant in this case attempted to win a frankly laughable settlement for gratuitous garden services. When it became clear the evidence did not support their claims for injury and loss, they attempted to both disown having made the claim and to withdraw it. Nevertheless, the Claimant admitted they would have taken the money if it were offered and could not explain why it appeared in the witness statement if it was never intended to form part of the claim.
“This case is a cautionary tale against making inflated claims in signed witness statements and a demonstration that those who do so risk serious consequences.”
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