Multinational insurance firm AXA has been successful in its private prosecution of a man who claimed £100,000 for an ‘injury’ he alleged he sustained while working for a haulage company.
Paul Gustar had originally issued county court proceedings against his employer after damaging his back, although medical records revealed that the back injury he was suffering from had existed previously and occurred after he had been pushing his girlfriends car, according to a retrieved text message.
Gustar, 43, had also stated that the injury he suffered was reported to his line manager but the manager denied having any knowledge of the report or the alleged incident.
AXA failed when they attempted an application of contempt and therefore decided to pursue a private prosecution once the revelations surrounding Mr Gustar’s injury came to light.
Under the Fraud Act 2006, Gustar was found guilty on two counts at Truro Crown Court before being given a three-year suspended sentence.
His Honour Judge Harvey Clarke came to the conclusion that AXA were justified in their pursuit of a private prosecution and emphasised its importance in deterring future insurance fraud.
Chris Voller, AXA’s claims director, concurred that there was a necessity behind their prosecution of Mr Gustar as they look to tackle combat fraud in the industry. However, he also said that the decision to pursue a prosecution had not been taken lightly.
‘Gustar is just one example of the many thousands of individuals who attempt to defraud our industry every year, driving up the cost of everyone’s insurance,’ said Mr Voller.
He went on to deliver a warning aimed at anyone who considered “attempting to defraud insurers”, suggesting AXA is prepared to tackle any future claim through a private prosecution if necessary.
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