Philadelphia Insurance Vindicated in YouTube Bugatti Crash Case

August 29, 2014

Philadelphia Insurance Companies said it’s been vindicated in its investigation and denial of a fraudulent claim filed by an East Texas motorist for the 2009 crash of his Bugatti Veryon, following his guilty plea this week in the case United States of America v. Andy Lee House.

The Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based insurer said it had committed extensive resources over the past four years to fight the $2.2 million fraudulent claim filed by Andy Lee House of Lufkin, Texas, for the intentional destruction of the luxury sport car.

The 2009 crash, which was captured on video by a passing motorist and viewed more than five million times on YouTube, drew national attention. Philadelphia Insurance said its claims investigators had suspected fraud from the beginning and steadfastly denied the claim.

Authorities said House initially claimed that he was reaching for his cell phone when the car swerved into water near Galveston, Texas. The salt water flooded the engine, ruining the Bugatti.

Philadelphia Insurance said it commenced its investigation, secured witness statements, and received an anonymous call regarding the scheme developed by House to destroy the vehicle in exchange for the insurance proceeds.

In lieu of settling the claim, Philadelphia Insurance filed suit in 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas seeking to not only rescind the insurance policy issued to House, but also sought damages for breach of the insurance contract and fraud.

The insurer said the FBI ultimately got involved and filed a federal lawsuit against House, resulting in his guilty plea on August 26 to wire fraud. House faces up to 20 years in federal prison and the U.S. Attorney in the case has recommended that he pay restitution to Philadelphia Insurance.

“We owe a great deal of thanks to the witnesses who provided video and statements, which allowed the truth to come to light, as well as to federal and local enforcement for their investigations,” said Bill Benecke, executive vice president and chief claims officer at Philadelphia Insurance.

“Fraudulent claims adversely impact all of our customers and it is our fiduciary responsibility as an insurance carrier to protect our policyholders,” Benecke said.

Source: Philadelphia Insurance Companies

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