As March is devoted to fraud prevention month in Canada, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) has laid out the top five insurance fraud schemes that they have caught over the past year.
When suspected fraudulent insurance claims are made, SGI’s Special Investigative Unit is responsible for investigating them. Over the course of 2018, the SIU has saved SGI an estimated $5.6 million. SGI keeps in mind that discovering these acts of fraud means keeping insurance rates low.
“SGI, like any insurance company, is focused on loss prevention and reduction – this includes crime and fraud prevention,” said Penny McCune, executive vice president, and chief operating officer of the Auto Fund. “To that end, the SIU is concerned with finding the truth and getting our customers the benefits, they’re entitled to. Insurance fraud means higher rates for everyone.”
THE DNA SAYS OTHERWISE
One customer claimed to have had her keys stolen but was discovered at the scene of the accident.
The driver was caught when SGI’s SIU obtained a DNA sample from the vehicle’s deployed airbag – and it was a match to the vehicle’s owner.
The claim was denied, and the would-be fraudster was subsequently held responsible for paying back the $15,000 in damages that SGI has initially paid out to cover his vehicle and the others that had been damaged.
The second claim that SGI listed came from a vehicle owner who said they had gone to heat up their vehicle on a cold day, but when they came back out, they saw their car in flames.
However, the SIU found evidence that multiple fires had been purposely set in the vehicle. Video footage was uncovered, and it showed someone approaching the truck and moving about, opening different doors and then returning indoors. Seconds later, the video shows snow melting off the truck’s roof and the individual shown earlier returns to the scene.
The insurance claim was denied and the replacement costs for the truck were about $28,000. The fraudster was charged with arson under the Criminal Code.
One customer claimed to have hit a deer while driving down a rural road. But SGI found it suspicious when just 100 km down the road, police were investigating a suspected hit and run involving the same vehicle.
When interviewed by SIU, the customer admitted her original statement had lied and that she had loaned her vehicle to an unlicensed relative.
The insured was denied coverage and recovery were sought for the damages to the vehicle struck during the hit and run. This fake claim was worth more than $13,000.
CAUGHT ON CANDID CAMERA
Another customer was caught on camera in a lie with the SGI. The driver had claimed to have swerved into a slough, attempting to avoid a dog. The vehicle was completely submerged, and the claim was settled.
A little while later, SGI received a tip that the claim was fraudulent. In fact, video existed showing the customer purposely driving into the slough–meaning they are now required to pay back the $2,000 SGI had originally paid out.
The next incident involves another vehicle that went up in flames, except this time the driver claimed that the vehicle was stolen.
A witness to the incident described an argument occurring prior to the fire and video evidence emerged showing multiple individuals leaving the scene where the vehicle had been set ablaze. When the witness caught up with one of the individuals walking away from the scene, the individual blurted out “let it burn!”
The SIU soon after realized that it had not been stolen at all and the insurance claim was then denied for providing a false statement to SGI. The individual was charged with mischief by arson for burning their own vehicle. SGI’s total savings were $4,400. The vehicle was a total loss.