Allianz has been successful in obtaining a finding of fundamental dishonesty, after a judge dismissed a bus driver’s claim and ordered him to pay indemnity costs of the defendant.
The claimant was a bus driver employed by Golden Tours Ltd. In June 2013, a bus he was driving suddenly caught fire in the rear engine area, whilst on the M4 motorway.
The claimant alleged that his co-driver abandoned the bus immediately, running away as fast as he could. He claimed that as he evacuated through the driver’s door there was a sudden explosion causing him to be thrown backwards onto the metal barrier adjacent to the hard shoulder. He alleged that he managed to crawl under the barrier before losing consciousness, coming round some time later.
He argued that he’d sustained serious injuries to his back, in addition to suffering from smoke inhalation and PTSD-the claim for damages had the potential to exceed £100,000.
Allianz’s major loss claims team undertook investigations and arranged an interview with the co-driver who confirmed that both he and the claimant had left the bus without incident and watched the fire take hold from a safe distance. The co-driver and a fire investigation officer (whom attended the scene) both took photos of the bus. The claimant was clearly visible in these photos looking entirely normal in his appearance, entirely at odds with his version of events.
Based on the evidence, Allianz chose to deny liability and applied in advance of the hearing for a finding of “Fundamental Dishonesty”.
On reviewing the medical evidence which contained anomalies and hearing the testimony of the two key defence witnesses, the Judge found that by the standard of ordinary honest people the conduct of the claimant could only sensibly be described as “Fundamentally Dishonest”. The claim was dismissed and was ordered to pay the defendant’s costs in the sum of £35,000 upfront, with the balance to be assessed at a later date.
Sarah Mallaby, head of technical claims, Allianz Insurance, commented: “The outcome of this case is a testament to the hard work of our Claims team. It shows the lengths we will go to protect our genuine customers and our commitment to fighting dishonest claims.”
Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, the largest property and casualty insurer worldwide.
Around 85 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz's knowledge, global reach, capital strength and solidity to help them make the most of financial opportunities and to avoid and safeguard themselves against risks.
In 2015, over 142,000 employees in more than 70 countries achieved total revenues of approximately 125.2bn euros.