An insurer has sued the owner of one of the rarest and fastest sports cars in the world after it ended up in a Texas lagoon.
Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co. says owner Andy House of Lufkin, Texas is not entitled to a payout for what the company says was not an accident.
The insurer alleges fraud against House and his business associate, Lloyd Gillespie, whose interest-free loan allowed House to buy a 2006 Bugatti Veyron for $1.05 million, according to court documents.
Philadelphia says it wrote House a collector-vehicle policy for the Bugatti and a 2003 Ferrari for an agreed value of $2.2 million. The insurer also says it should not have to pay because the Bugatti was not used as a collector vehicle and because House allegedly misrepresented his ownership—that the vehicle was bought to be resold for a profit.
At the time of the suit, House owned a car dealership, says Philadelphia.
Gillespie is also named as a defendant in the case, which was supposed to go to jury trial Oct. 1 but was delayed for unspecified reasons. The order vacating the trial has been sealed, according to electronic court records.
The details of the suit, filed more than two years ago, are interesting to say the least—leading to national news attention because the accident was allegedly captured by the passenger of another vehicle and posted to YouTube.
(Scroll down to see the video.)
House told Philadelphia he swerved off the road and into a lagoon to avoid hitting a pelican on Nov. 12, 2009. House had owned the car for about a month.
But the video, says Philadelphia, “does not appear to confirm that a pelican was in Mr. House’s immediate field of vision.”
Additionally, House left the car running in the lagoon for 15 minutes after the accident—leading to additional severe damage to the engine.
Philadelphia says these facts on their own “raised a strong suspicion” that there was no accident.
But the allegations don’t stop there. The insurer says it obtained information from a confidential informant who alleges House offered him money to “steal” the Bugatti and burn it so House could collect the insurance.
“However, apparently Mr. House instead drove the car into the lagoon without the confidential informant’s assistance,” the suit reads.
This looks to have left the would-be fraud accomplice disgruntled. He confronted House, who offered to split some of the insurance proceeds with him to shut him up, Philadelphia alleges.
Philadelphia further alleges that its informant says he believes House and Gillespie were in cahoots to defraud the insurer of $2.2 million.
Other than the allegations of fraud, Philadelphia says House violated the terms of the collector-vehicle insurance policy by using the Bugatti for errands, business trips, and driving to and from work. The insurer says House drove the car 1,200 miles during his one-month ownership—about 2.5 times more than the previous owner did in three years.
House also misrepresented the vehicle’s use when he allegedly neglected to mention that he bought the car to be sold.