Ship broker Henry Phua, 61, is certainly not a person who will take things lying down, especially when he has been wronged.
It was reported in The Straits Times today (June 4) that he fought a two-year battle against "what appears to be a fraudulent accident claim".
The report said: "It has taken the dogged determination of Mr Henry Phua, 61, to expose those involved in an attempt to pin the blame for a fender bender on him and to file insurance claims of over $14,000 against him."
Mr Phua was driving along the CTE in August 2007 when a Subaru WRX swerved into his lane and slammed on the brakes. The Subaru was hit on the rear right section as a result.
However, the Subaru driver in his report alleged that Mr Phua had tried to cut into his lane. He said the incident took place on the left lane when it was on the right. He also claimed that he had a witness.
After Mr Phua made a police report to say that the other party had lied, a Primary Dispute Resolution Meeting was held -- one and a half years after the incident. The Subaru driver admitted before a district judge that Mr Phua's version was correct and that he had in fact no witness.
Meanwhile, the police have confirmed that criminal charges will be brought against three men for cheating and giving false information in connection with the case.
Reading the newspaper report today, I was curious about the role played by Mr Phua's insurance company. Nowhere did it mention anything about what the insurer had done for him to help him fight the long-drawn case.
What came across vividly was the relentless and solo effort Mr Phua had put in to clear his name.
One paragraph in the report struck me: "With the criminal case pending against the WRX driver, Mr Phua has since won back his 50 per cent no-claims discount." This means that Mr Phua's insurer had prematurely removed his no-claims discount even before the police had finally decided who was in the wrong.
As a service provider, surely the insurance company should have at least given its client the benefit of the doubt first instead of jumping to conclusion.
It may be the practice of insurers to chop the no-claims discount once a claim has been made but that is definitely not fair to the policy-holder as the case is still under dispute.
I hope the insurance commissioner would take notice of this apparent injustice and move quickly to correct it. I have no confidence that our insurers would take it upon themselves to do the right thing.