The CHO responds to the 'Autofocus' Judgment

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The CHO responds to the judgment handed down in respect of Accident Exchange vs seven Autofocus employees

Commenting on Mr Justice Supperstone’s judgment, Martin Andrews, director general of the Credit Hire Organisation (CHO), the trade body for the UK credit hire industry, said:

“The credit hire industry welcomes the outcome of this important private prosecution brought by Accident Exchange against seven previous employees of Autofocus

“The guilty verdict for seven Autofocus employees vindicates a long campaign by Accident Exchange’s chairman Steve Evans to see justice done, after the police and IFED [Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department] rejected the opportunity to prosecute.

 “This fraud went on for years and insurers benefitted from it.  It was the catalyst behind the perception within the judiciary, policymakers and the media that credit hire charges were artificially inflated and significantly contributed to thousands of claims being settled at under value.  The reputation and financial strength of the credit hire industry was materially damaged because of the actions and use of Autofocus’ fraudulently prepared rate evidence. Our member companies have been unjustly forced to defend themselves against false accusations of overcharging ever since

Since this case was identified there has been improved cooperation between the CHO and the police but more can be done.  This significant prosecution shows that insurers are not alone in suffering the consequences of insurance fraud.  Credit hire companies are also targeted and the CHO now looks forward to greater collaboration with insurers and the police to identify and prosecute alleged fraudsters.

“The CHO also urges policymakers to recognise that credit hire companies carry out a legitimate role, providing mobility and help to non-fault customers in their hour of need.”

“Collaboration and the settlement of claims via the GTA removes friction and associated increased costs of litigation, benefitting both insurers and claimants.”