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RAC Insurance told to pay claimant acquitted of car theft

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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has found in favour of a claimant as his insurer, RAC Insurance, failed to prove he was making a fraudulent claim for losses caused by the theft and arson of his vehicle.

The man had sought payment from the insurer after he was acquitted in the Supreme Court of WA last May on charges relating to the theft and destruction of the car.

AFCA ordered the insurer to pay the claimant $59,000 minus the $1000 excess, with interest payable on the cash settlement based on the 30 days after his acquittal.

The man had lodged his claim in August 2017, submitting that his car, a Mazda BT 50 XT was stolen and subsequently destroyed by fire. He says the incident happened overnight on August 21 while he was asleep.

He says he only realised the car was stolen and destroyed after receiving a note left by the police.

The matter went before the court where evidence provided by forensic locksmiths proved inconclusive as to whether the man could have been behind the incident.

AFCA notes the claimant was also open in disclosing his dire financial state to RAC Insurance. The man was earning about $140,000 a year but had many financial commitments including monthly repayments for the car and a motor cycle.

He had attempted to sell the vehicle for $62,000 before the incident but could not find a buyer.

AFCA concedes there are some inconsistencies in the information provided by the man but says the insurer has not proved that the claim is fraudulent.

“No information has been provided to physically link the complainant to the arson of the vehicle. There is no information to link the complainant to any other person who may have taken and destroyed the vehicle,” AFCA ruled.

“The complainant has been open in disclosing his full financial position to the insurer. The complainant would still be out of pocket even with a successful claim.”

Click here for the AFCA decision.