An accident management company has been ordered to pay exemplary damages of £70,000, which is believed to be the highest such award in a motor fraud case.
MS Globenet was found to be involved in 20 cases related to a major fraud ring, operating primarily in north London between 2012 and 2014, comprising 367 third parties and 136 policies.
After the vast majority of these fraudulent claims – worth up to £2.5m – were defeated, the insurer, Admiral, instructed its solicitors, City firm Clyde & Co, to bring a claim for tort of deceit against the company.
During the trial at Central London County Court, Mr Recorder Oliver Sells QC found that that the alleged accidents were fraudulent and that MS Globenet director Mohammed Samavat had been knowingly complicit in the fraud.
The judge said MS Globenet had sought to gain from numerous fraudulent claims and that needed to be reflected in the damages.
He also acknowledged that one of the purposes of exemplary damages was to allow the court to express its displeasure and discourage similar conduct in the future, something that was important in motor fraud as it remains an issue impacting on the wider public through higher premiums.
He calculated the award by awarding £3,500 for each of the 20 alleged collisions in which it could be shown that MS Globenet had sought to profit.
In addition, Admiral was awarded indemnity costs, with £20,000 to be paid on account.
Susan Evans, head of counter fraud at Admiral, said: “These claims were part of a concerted effort by a number of individuals to defraud motor insurers across the industry.
“From an early stage we worked closely with Clyde & Co to fight the claims presented to Admiral and had significant success. However, we felt it was important not let those who stood to profit from the fraud to walk away without being held to account.
“Therefore, we hope that the large award made in this case will serve as a deterrent to those thinking of committing fraud.”