Around 1,250 insurers suffering financial loss will be refunded, says chief executive Binch

Drive Assist has hired forensic accountants KPMG to investigate whistleblower allegations that insurers were overcharged for hire days.

The credit hire company believes insurers have suffered a financial loss in around 1,250 cases and those affected will be refunded.

Chief executive Steve Binch denies allegations of misleading insurers, stressing that the email was sent from a staff member “misunderstanding” a team meeting on hire days.

Binch explained: “As you will be aware, a thorough investigation has been conducted, which is time-consuming and has therefore taken longer than our original estimate of a week. Our investigation is showing that the number of cases where insurers have suffered a financial loss is about 1% of the 125,000 hires we have carried out in the period.

“We have instructed KPMG’s forensic team to undertake a review of the issue, so that they can verify our findings and confirm that our investigation has covered all matters.”

The allegations of overcharging came to light following a leaked email, in which a staff member explains to other employees how to claim two extra hire days from insurers.

The email was passed on to the ABI by a whistleblower, who has yet to be identified. One staff member remains “disciplined”, according to Drive Assist.

Police are not investigating at present.

Binch said: “By taking this initiative, which will provide you with additional comfort, our original timescales have inevitably moved back. However, I believe it is essential to show you that this matter is being taken seriously by us.

“I can confirm that on conclusion of KPMG’s work, we will be fully refunding to insurers all amounts that have been overpaid as a result of this issue.”

An ABI spokesman said it was a matter for individual insurers to explore.

An Aviva spokesman said: “We take this seriously due to the potential effects on customers and we are investigating it with Drive Assist.” AXA is also considering what action is ­appropriate.