Jean Paul* claimed he and his wife met in separate vehicles five minutes away from their house to have a “sort of a romantic meeting” on a mattress in the back of Jean Paul’s van. Jean Paul claimed his van had accidently caught fire, because a petrol can had been knocked over and when he later attempted to light a cigarette outside the van, “there was a boom”.
Before an insurer can decline a claim on the basis of fraud, there must be enough evidence to show: 1. the claim is substantially wrong 2. the claim is designed to obtain a greater benefit than the insured is entitled to 3. the claim was knowingly false.
In this case, the insurer had had strong evidence including reports from the Institute of Environmental Science & Research Ltd (ESR) to confirm the petrol spill was not accidental, it was throughout the whole van, and the fire was caused by a naked flame, such as a cigarette lighter.
The insurer also had evidence from the Fire Service to show they were called 38 minutes after the fire began. Also, Jean Paul had been trying hard, in the weeks prior, to sell the van.
Complaint not upheld.
*Names have been changed.