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Coutinho -v- Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Ltd Judgment 29 April 2016

May 2016

SOUTHAMPTON -- LV=, represented by Pitmans LLP, have won a case involving a fraudulent household insurance claim worth almost ÂŁ50,000.

Pitmans’ Rick Munro, Insurance Partner, and Claire Collings, Insurance Director, led the case.  The court dismissed the Policyholder, Mr Coutinho’s, claim for alternative accommodation and found in favour of LV= in respect of the counterclaim, meaning Coutinho is required to repay back the amount paid out under the policy for the property repairs.

Collings said: "We are delighted for our client, LV=, with the outcome. We often hear about fraudulent insurance claims which relate to motor vehicle policies but fraudulent household claims have attracted relatively little attention. Today's judgment on the household policy fraudulent claim is a welcome one as it acts as a salutary reminder as to the perils of exaggerating or presenting a false claim."

Martin Milliner, Claims Director of LV=, said: “We take a very dim view of insurance fraud and will fight tooth and nail if we think someone is trying to deceive us. This particular case troubled us from the beginning and our expert teams, along with the help of Pitmans, were able to shine a light on Mr Coutinho’s story. This judgement sends a strong message to all would-be fraudsters and will encourage insurers to challenge claims they believe to be dishonest.”

Case background:

  • LV= paid out nearly ÂŁ25,000 for property repairs to Coutinho, following a large escape of water claim.
  • However, suspicions within LV= arose when Coutinho made a large claim for alternative accommodation. The claim was for just below ÂŁ25,000, the limit of indemnity on the policy, for accommodation for two people.
  • Having had this claim declined by LV=, Coutinho complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service who did not uphold his complaint, resulting in him commencing court proceedings.
  • LV= claimed back the repair costs paid out to the policyholder on the basis that the claim for alternative accommodation was fraudulent.
  • At trial the court found that Coutinho and the other family member claiming to be living at the risk address did not in fact live there. The court consequently dismissed the claim for alternative accommodation and found in favour of LV= in respect of the counterclaim, meaning Coutinho is required to repay back the amount paid out under the policy for the property repairs.

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