Insurance coverage firm settles case towards leisure centre over alleged fraudulent bill in declare – Eire

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An insurance company has settled its action against the operator of a Galway leisure centre and a loss assessment firm over an alleged fraudulent invoice used in a claim over storm damage to the centre ten years ago.

FBD Insurance Plc had brought proceedings against Claregalway Leisure Centre Ltd, which is a community organisation that runs a leisure centre in Claregalway.

Frank McNabb Insurances Public Loss Assessors Ltd was later joined as a co-defendant as the firm was used to deal with various aspects of the claim over the damage.  

Both defendants denied the claims.

The claims arose after the Co Galway-based centre’s roof and its interior was damaged following a storm on January 17, 2009.

FBD, which insured the premises, claimed  an invoice from a flooring company contracted to carry out repairs to the centre was fraudulently altered to claim monies “greatly in excess of the true amount due.” 

FBD sought the return of an interim payment of €32,800 by the insurer to cover the costs of the repairs to the centre, plus a loss adjuster’s fee of €6,000 and other expenses from the defendants.

As the invoice was fraudulent, the payment out should be returned to the insurer,  FBD said.

Claregalway Leisure Centre denied the allegations.

In a counterclaim, it sought the payment out of monies it said it was entitled to under its policy of insurance it had obtained with FBD.

It claimed that it cost approximately €118,000 to repair the damage caused by the storm.

It claimed that under its policy of insurance it was entitled to some €82,000 from the insurer, of which €32,800 was paid.

However, the insurer, because of the alleged fraud, refused to pay out the balance of what the Leisure Centre claimed it was owed.

As well as seeking an order for judgment of more €49,200 against FBD, the centre sought exemplary and punitive damages from FBD due to the insurer’s conduct in the handling of the claim.

Claregalway Leisure Centre said it had relied on the expertise of the Frank McNabb firm to negotiate with the insurers and with the suppliers whose invoices were allegedly doctored to inflate the price contained. 

It previously obtained an order from the court joining the Frank McNabb firm, along with a full indemnity from it, as a co-defendant in the proceedings.

The Frank McNabb firm, with an address Main Street, Clarinbridge, Co Galway, denied all claims of fraud made against it, or that it had retained any monies paid out by FBD.

The case opened before Mr Justice Michael McGrath, but was adjourned to allow the parties to attempt to resolve matters.  

When the case resumed on Wednesday,  Marcus Daly SC, for FBD, said the case had been settled and could be struck out.

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