Take your smartphone for a spin: IBC launches new road safety app

TORONTO, March 12, 2015 /CNW/ - At a Fraud Prevention Month event at Danforth Collegiate today, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) launched the SafetyMobile App, a road safety phone application that educates users about staged collisions. Members of Toronto Police Service, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and Victims Services Ontario as well as hundreds of students attended the event.

"IBC believes that teaching new drivers about road safety is very important," said Ralph Palumbo, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. "That's why we launched this new road safety app. It not only encourages drivers to be safe on the road but raises awareness about a serious type of fraud that happens all too often in the Greater Toronto Area – staged collisions."

A staged collision is no accident. It is a mimicked collision scenario that not only jeopardizes the safety of those on the road, it supports false auto insurance claims. Staged collisions include:

1.       The Swoop and Squat

    • A "swoop" car, belonging to the fraudster, suddenly speeds up and cuts off a "squat" car with an innocent driver. Unable to stop in time, the squat car rear-ends the swoop car.

2.      The Drive Down

    • The fraudster appears to yield and waves to an innocent driver to proceed with a merge or lane change. The victim merges, and then the fraudster drives into the victim, later denying that he or she waved the victim on.

3.       The Sideswipe

    • The fraudster targets an innocent driver and purposely collides with the side of the victim's vehicle. This usually occurs in busy intersections with dual left turn lanes.

Often linked to organized crime rings, staged collisions are just one part of the car accident business that increases costs in the Ontario auto insurance system. These fraudsters also falsify medical claims, exaggerate auto body repair costs, make up imaginary collisions and sell seats in their car to falsely claim insurance benefits.

"The Greater Toronto Area is the fraud capital of Canada. The "car accident business" is thriving and driving up insurance premiums for innocent drivers. This app will help raise awareness of this serious fraud so that people can detect it, avoid it and report it," added Palumbo.

The idea for the app came from IBC's SafetyMobile, a simulator that IBC takes to towns and cities across Ontario every summer to help encourage safe driving habits. It has all of the same features of a car and takes drivers through a number of driving scenarios to increase awareness of staged collisions. The app launched today gives the user these same experiences.

To download IBC's free SafetyMobile app on your Android, visit Google Play. The app will be available for iPhones in the coming weeks. You will be able to download SafetyMobile on your iPhone at the App Store.

"If you think you have witnessed or been a victim of an insurance crime, call IBC's confidential, 24/7 tip line at 1-877-IBC-TIPS or submit an anonymous tip online," encouraged Palumbo.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.  

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2-ASK-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Celyeste Power, Manager, Media Relations, 416-362-2031 ext. 4312 (office), 647-384-9872 (after hours), cpower@ibc.ca

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