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The claim was referred to our Property Claims Validation Team as we discovered there was a County Court Judgement associated with our policyholder, which may have been a financial motive for the claim.  However, our main concern was the amount of stolen cigarettes. We appointed a Special Investigator (SI) to interview our policyholder and obtain the relevant police report. 

The size of the hole where the thieves allegedly gained entry to the shop’s cigarette gantry was very small. It would have been extremely difficult for the thieves to get access to each level of the gantry and remove all 352 cigarette packets in the short space of time that they were on site.

The police report stated that the thieves were only on site for roughly seven minutes. This meant they would have had to remove around 42 packets of cigarettes per minute through the small hole in the glass. 

The police report also stated that 45 packets of cigarettes were recovered by the attending police officers and returned to the policyholder. 

Our policyholder provided proof that he had originally purchased the alleged stolen cigarettes along with confirmation of his order to replace them.  Oddly, he didn’t order the replacement cigarettes until six days after the alleged theft, which raised suspicion given he claimed his entire stock had been stolen in the incident.  

The claim didn’t seem plausible given the amount of time the thieves were on site and the fact that the entire cigarette gantry wasn’t accessible. 

We referred the case to our solicitors to see if we had reasonable prospects of successfully proving fraud and invoking the fraud clause. Based on the above they agreed that the claim appeared to have been grossly exaggerated. We wrote to our policyholder informing them of our concerns and invited them to respond. No response was forthcoming so we invoked the fraud clause which cancelled the policy from the date the fraudulent claim was submitted.

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