Fraudulent Claim Voids Policy Making a Claim for Loss to Personal Property Not Damaged is Fraud.
|[ON MY RADAR] BARRY ZALMA
To successfully commit arson-forprofit the perpetrator needs a modicum of intelligence and some knowledge of insurance. When the perpetrator is incompetent, makes claim for property removed from the subject of the insurance before setting it afire, he or she will be caught and will recover nothing from the crime. In Kenny Thomas v. Certain Underwriters At Lloyd's, London, No. 4:20-CV-00275 BSM, United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Central Division (December 8, 2021) Kenny Thomas proved to be a totally incompetent arsonist and lost every opportunity to recover anything from his attempt to profit from his arson.
In June 2019, a fire occurred at Kenny Thomas's home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Following the fire, Thomas submitted a insurance claim to Lloyd's for the total loss of his home and for the loss of personal property, including furniture. At the time of the fire, Thomas was behind on his mortgage payments and the home was listed for sale.
When the Pine Bluff Fire Marshal inspected the property, he did not locate any remnants or debris to indicate furniture was destroyed in the fire. Lloyd's also hired Midwest Fire Consulting Group ("Midwest Fire") to investigate, and Midwest Fire concluded there was no evidence that furniture or personal items were destroyed in the fire. Midwest Fire further concluded that the fire was incendiary with the use of ignitable liquid to enhance the burning process, and that the ignition source was an open flame device held by a human hand.
In July 2019, Thomas prepared a proof of loss statement that included a couch, loveseat, and ottoman that he reported he purchased from Ashley Furniture. Thomas later testified at an examination under oath that the proof of loss he prepared was accurate, and that the furniture he reported as lost was his property and had been moved into the home prior to the fire.
Lloyd's, faced with obvious false swearing and an attempt at fraud, denied coverage for Thomas' claim. Lloyd's, denied the claim after determining that he intentionally caused the fire and breached the policy's concealment or fraud condition, which rendered the policy void. Following this denial, Thomas sued Lloyd's for breach of contract and bad faith denial of insurance benefits.
The Arkansas Insurance Department ("AID") subsequently began a criminal investigation of Thomas's insurance claim. AID discovered that almost nine months after the fire, Thomas's girlfriend submitted a claim under a...
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