Set up agency to investigate questionable insurance claims

Mr Jimmy Lauw Thian Chye's experience is neither unique nor new ("Why was claim paid out when car was not damaged?"; Monday).

I, too, had a similar experience.

The incident happened about two months ago at the Woodlands Checkpoint, when I was trying to merge into the left lane (due to lane closure) and the other driver refused to give way.

He drove into my vehicle, and, as a result, the front right tyre of his vehicle brushed against my front left tyre and both our vehicles came to a halt.

We agreed that besides some tyre marks on our front wheels, there was no damage caused to either of the vehicles, and we parted ways after I took some photos of the impacted areas.

About one month later, I was informed by my insurance company, Aviva, that a claim had been lodged by the other driver for damage caused to his vehicle.

I was also advised that the insurance company was likely to pay up after the surveyor submitted his report, and that I would lose a portion of my no-claim bonus.

I tried to explain that the question of liability ought to be resolved first and that there was no damage to the cars, as could be seen from the photos.

Unfortunately, the customer service officer said that I would have to take up a civil suit against the other party, should I choose to contest the claim.

This position by the insurance company has put me in a no-win situation.

Such cases of contested claims are common and are usually "settled" by the "aggrieved" party so as to avoid potentially huge legal costs.

I urge the authorities to consider setting up an independent body or agency to investigate such claims and take punitive action against any opportunist who submits fraudulent or inflated claims.

We would then be able to nurture a more honest driving community, and the motor insurance industry could save itself some money.

Goh Poh Thiam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2015, with the headline 'Set up agency to investigate questionable insurance claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe