What is at risk by being dishonest? – Case 3 – broker advice

Make sure your answers are honest ones on any insurance form

In this case a business man’s son was driving his father’s car when he hit a kangaroo. The father rang to report the accident and in the discussion with the insurance broker the fact that a higher excess applied due to the fact that the son was under 21 years of age.

The business man, despite being quite well off, owning many profitable businesses was upset at having to pay the higher excess and the broker suggested that if he wanted to avoid the age excess he should say he was driving. The Insured took this advice.

Again being a single vehicle accident the insurer appointed an insurance investigator and during the course of his investigation the truth about who was driving slipped out. The Insured, now highly embarrassed and worried about his reputation, has withdrawn the claim and now will not only be paying the higher excess but rather the entire cost of repairs.

So where does the broker sit in all this. He has conspired to commit insurance fraud and his reputation is now effected. At this stage is it not known if the insurer intends taking action against the insured and or broker.

This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. A few years ago, the news agent where I buy my papers came and saw me as he was having trouble sleeping at night. He had rung up and reported that he was driving his 4 wheel drive vehicle that had hit an animal but he was terrified that the tow truck operator or someone would state the truth that it was his daughter that was driving. At the time, he had not completed a claim form.

I explained to him the penalties and loss of reputation that he risked by going ahead with a fraudulent claim and so he completed the claim form honestly and his claim was paid less the correct age excess. After it was all over he came up and thanked me but it was really his own conscience that he should thank. I just explained the real penalties.

We all want to look after our customers but that should never extend to suggesting or doing anything that we know to be dishonest.

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying:  “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

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