November 10 – False declaration of principal operator voids policy coverage
A torched and gutted 1996 Camaro Z28 and an award for double costs to ICBC are all that remain after a recent Supreme Court jury decision (Hayer v. ICBC) involving an attempted fraud.
Mr. Swaran Singh Hayer�s claim to have his vehicle replaced was denied after he falsely declared himself as the vehicle�s principal operator. ICBC maintained that the vehicle was destroyed when Mr. Hayer�s 27-year-old son, Amandeep Hayer, set fire to it in the hope of collecting on the limited depreciation provision of his father�s ICBC policy.
Based on evidence and testimony heard, the jury determined that Mr. Swaran Hayer had ��knowingly misrepresent[ed] or fail[ed] to disclose who was to be the principal operator of the Camaro Z28, violating section 19 of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act�. This ruling supported ICBC�s decision to deny the claim based on a thorough investigation of the claimant�s report.
�At ICBC, we see fraud as theft, driving up the costs for our honest customers,� said ICBC�s chief operating officer Bill Goble. �That�s why we�re committed to taking the necessary steps to protect our customers from the effects of fraud, including legal action.�
Inaccurately designating the principal operator on an ICBC insurance application is a common type premium fraud. An example of this type of fraud is when one person with a good driving history insures a vehicle on behalf of someone else to help him or her attain an improved discount on ICBC�s Claims Rated Scale.
ICBC defines the principal operator as the person who will be operating the vehicle the majority of time during the term of the policy.
�It�s vital that policyholders understand that failing to inform ICBC about the actual principal operator can result in them forfeiting their rights to benefits and insurance money,� said Joseph P. Cahan, the lawyer who represented ICBC in this case. Cahan, of Alexander, Holburn, Beaudin & Lang, also successfully argued a similar high-profile case of premium fraud last year in Sandhu v. ICBC which resulted in Mrs. Manjit Sandhu forfeiting her rights to benefits resulting from the loss of a 1991 Camaro.
People who have information on suspicious claims and other instances of potential fraud can call ICBC�s Tip Line at 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844. Information is confidential and callers can remain anonymous.
More information on fraud and ICBC�s prevention programs can be found on http://www.icbc.com.