Accident Exchange claims as much as £22m affected

Accident Exchange has updated its allegations against Autofocus claiming it has identified 2,5000 claims worth £22m that could be affected.

Autofocus has said it has had not notice of any legal action and said: “If any proceedings or application are served they will be resisted vigorously.”

Colin McLean, chairman of Autofocus, said: "Autofocus does not wish to adopt the approach of litigating any dispute through the press. Nevertheless, it is important for the market to understand that Autofocus will do everything in its power to defend itself and will not be deterred by these extremely serious allegations from responsible, independent service to the industry."

Old case

The complaint goes back to the Glossop v Christian Salvesen Logistics case at Chesterfield County Court on 8 September 2009.

Accident Exchange this morning said: “We have since learned that the Autofocus employee who submitted the evidence in that case has very recently left the employment of Autofocus. As a separate matter, we have instructed our solicitors to make an application to the Court for permission to bring an action against that person for Contempt of Court.”

“In the past week the rate of discovery of more cases where the evidence appears to be incorrect or dishonest has increased and, on a daily basis, our investigators continue to obtain witness statements that suggest that Autofocus' evidence is dishonest on further claims.”

Further evidence found

“We have also received assistance from a number of third parties who themselves have had concerns over evidence produced by Autofocus.” The company provided examples.

It said: “A statement of claim has now been served and an application for pre-action disclosure has been filed in the High Court against Autofocus Limited and others alleging that they are guilty of the tort of conspiracy to use unlawful means, interference with the trade or business of Accident Exchange Limited (a major trading subsidiary of Accident Exchange Group Plc) by unlawful means and deceit.

“The application before the High Court seeks disclosure in respect of telephone records and other materials which we believe will be supportive of the direct evidence we have already obtained in our investigation and which will further prove that a large part of the reports and statements given by Autofocus have been fabricated.”

Gravity and volume

David Galloway, non executive chairman, said: “We were disturbed at the gravity and volume of these issues when we first became aware of them a week or so ago. We have made good progress internally in reacting to the issues and in providing evidence to the Courts of where this dishonesty has occurred.

“At a time when insurers are themselves subject to fraud and deceit on an increasing scale it is disappointing to find that a number of leading insurers have so far failed to engage or address this discovery.”