Govt Holds Hearing with Bigmotor over Insurance Fraud Scandal

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Bigmotor Co. President Shinji Izumi, second from left, and others attend a hearing at the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry on Wednesday.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry held a hearing with major used-car dealer Bigmotor Co. on Wednesday over the issue of fraudulent auto insurance applications.

Following the resignation of Hiroyuki Kaneshige as Bigmotor president, who stood down to take responsibility for the scandal, Shinji Izumi took the helm at the company on Wednesday.

Izumi, Bigmotor Vice President Mitsukuni Ishibashi and other company executives attended the hearing.

“We apologize for the trouble we’ve caused,” Izumi said at the start of the hearing, which began at 1 p.m. and lasted for about two hours.

An investigative committee comprising external lawyers has confirmed that Bigmotor submitted fraudulent automobile insurance claims, including cases in which cars were deliberately damaged to pad insurance claims.

The focus of the hearing was on the scale of the fraudulent activities, among other things.

The ministry plans to conduct on-site inspections at the company’s maintenance facilities.

Companies are prohibited from charging for repair work that has not been requested.

If the company broke the law, possible penalties include business suspensions or loss of accreditation to operate as automobile inspection stations.

Bigmotor runs 107 automobile inspection stations, and three of them were penalized this year for infringements including failure to conduct speedometer inspections.

The ministry suspects other Bigmotor maintenance facilities have also conducted illegal inspection activities and is planning to expand its probe.