An investigation by HF led to two men being found fundamentally dishonest following their attempts to fraudulently seek damages against Zurich Insurance plc (“Zurich”).

Two men from North East and East London started court proceedings against Zurich and their client, Franchisees of Papa John’s Limited, seeking damages for personal injuries and financial losses arising from an alleged road traffic accident.

It was claimed that the incident occurred in Pollard Hatch car park in Harlow, where they were sitting in their parked Toyota, when a Papa John’s company Honda Accord was reversed into the adjoining parking bay at speed, colliding with their car.

However, Zurich suspected they were dealing with a phantom accident. At the time of the alleged accident, the Honda was in the control of an employee of Papa John’s Limited and he was able to confirm that he was in fact not working on the day of the alleged collision, and that no one else had used it.

Close analysis of the Claimants’ documents revealed numerous inconsistencies in their accounts of injury, with further searches revealing that both had a history of making similar claims.

Pressed to disclose physiotherapy notes, they alleged treatment had been received through a Brighter Future Rehab (BFR), a physiotherapy company who, in turn, alleged they had outsourced it to Ascenti, a nationwide provider of physio treatment. Ascenti confirmed they had not accepted instructions from either claimants or BFR and they provided a witness statement, and the physiotherapist personally named was also happy to provide a witness statement to that effect.

As a result of HF and Zurich’s investigations, permission was obtained to not only deny the claims, but to assert fundamental dishonesty for both Claimants and counterclaim for damages arising from the Second Claimant’s misrepresentations and use of fraudulent documents. Both claimants were found to be fundamentally dishonest and ordered to pay the defendant’s costs of £30,973.

Graeme Mulvoy, Partner in Counter Fraud at Horwich Farrelly, said: “All too often people think they can get away with making fraudulent insurance claims, especially when those they’re claiming against are big industry players. This case demonstrates how we leverage the investigative tools at our disposal, and relationships with providers including physiotherapists, to right that wrong and hold them to account. We hope that knowledge helps discourage claimants and suspect companies from trying to do the same.”

Scott Clayton, Head of Fraud at Zurich Insurance commented, “We take fraudulent claims very seriously and findings such as this help us protect our honest customers and their employees. In this case, it was not only the claimants trying to bring dishonest claims but a physiotherapy company who falsified documents. Through the collaboration of Zurich, Horwich Farrelly and Ascenti, we’ve ensured they failed in their attempts and, rightly, been ordered to pay our legal costs.”