April 20, 2024

RM1.5m compensation from insurance company after four-year battle

3 min read

A Ferrari owner has finally successfully claimed RM1.5 million from an insurance company after a road accident that occurred over four years ago on a highway in the Klang Valley.

Bespoke Motoring Sdn Bhd had purchased the Ferrari in August 2018 and insured it with AmGeneral Insurance Bhd for RM1.79 million.

The accident occurred on Oct 5 of the same year, when the Ferrari collided with another car on the Maju Expressway.

Lee Koon Tong, who was authorised to drive the car, was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. As a result of the collision, the Ferrari was left severely damaged.

The High Court here has now allowed the owner’s claim for compensation.

Lee told the court that an “unknown” vehicle suddenly switched into his lane from the left, causing him to “swerve and spin into oncoming traffic”, FMT reported.

As he attempted to move the car back to the correct side of the road, it was struck by another vehicle a few hundred metres down the road.

The company then filed an insurance claim, which AmGeneral Insurance eventually settled for RM1.5 million on Feb 22, 2019.

However, two months later, AmGeneral Insurance rescinded the offer, claiming that Lee was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and that he only reported the accident to the police several days later.

In response, Lee claimed that he was on medical leave, and that was why he couldn’t report the accident earlier.

AmGeneral Insurance also alleged that Bespoke Motoring “misrepresented” the nature of the accident in the claim form, which they said was a fraudulent claim and a fundamental breach of contract.

However, judge Liza Chan, in her decision, ruled that AmGeneral Insurance was not able to provide sufficient evidence to support its decision to reject the policy.

“The defendant (AmGeneral Insurance) already knew that the witness (Lee) was driving against the traffic and he only lodged the police report one day after the accident.

“A claim form was submitted to the defendant, wherein Lee maintained his version of the accident. He also admitted that he was summoned by the police as a result of the accident and that he was not under the influence of alcohol,” said Chan.

The court considered that AmGeneral Insurance conducted an investigation into the accident for about five months, during which their internal investigators examined Bespoke Motoring’s claim and found it to be valid since Lee’s statement did not contain any inconsistencies.

“The defendant approved the claim and provided a settlement offer, which in the court’s view, thereby waived any alleged breach by the plaintiff (Bespoke Motoring),” Chan said.

She further noted that during the trial, an AmGeneral Insurance fraud investigation officer testified that a tow truck driver had claimed Lee appeared to be intoxicated at the scene of the accident.

“The witness candidly admitted that he was unable to provide any other details about the truck driver. Clearly, what the driver said is ‘plainly inadmissible hearsay evidence’,” said Chan.

She also said pointed out that evidence given by a traffic policeman had “shot down in flames” claims that Lee was intoxicated.

Police, she said, had never investigated or charged Lee in court with reckless or dangerous driving under Section 42 of Road Transport Act 1987.

“Lee’s evidence on why he was driving against the flow of traffic and how the accident happened is not inherently improbable, and I accept his evidence.

“I feel confident in my conclusion on his evidence because there is consistency in his police report and claim form,” she said.

After considering the evidence in its entirety, the judge found that there was neither fraud nor “active concealment” nor “deliberate suppression” of facts so as to deny Bespoke Motoring’s claim.

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