Japanese Used-Car Firm to Widen Probe into Insurance Fraud

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Bigmotor dealership in Niigata is seen on Saturday.

Major used-car dealer Bigmotor Co. plans to widen the probe into fraudulent automobile insurance claims carried out by its employees and will ask a third party to conduct the investigation, sources said.

On July 18, Tokyo-based Bigmotor issued a report announcing that its employees had intentionally damaged customers’ cars and padded insurance claims to non-life insurance companies for repairs in at least 1,275 cases, amounting to ¥49.95 million.

Bigmotor’s report was made by a panel it appointed comprising lawyers from outside the company. Reports were also provided to major non-life insurance companies related to the cases, detailing the improper methods such as using a tool to scratch the cars or swinging a sock containing golf balls inside to dent them.

The insurance companies are demanding that the money paid out in these cases be returned. At least one non-life insurance company having concerns about the company’s internal probe demanded a third-party investigation.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry is planning to hold a hearing with Bigmotor by the end of this week. The ministry will examine the details of the misconduct, including how and where such misconduct had been done, and investigate whether it violates the Road Transport Vehicle Law. The law prohibits companies from improperly performing unsolicited maintenance and charging for it.