/C O R R E C T I O N from Source -- Private Investigators Association of British Columbia/

In c9762 issued today at 09:00e an error occurred in the "For Further Information" section. Taras Hryb's telephone number should be "(604) 937-3355" and not "(604) 937-5555" as originally issued. Corrected copy follows:

ICBC $100 million increase in bodily injury claims largely preventable

VANCOUVER, April 6 /CNW/ - By stepping away from national standard practices in the insurance industry, ICBC experienced a $100 million increase in payments for bodily injury claims and related expenses.  "Much of this bodily injury cost increase is preventable" says Mr. Taras Hryb, President of the Private Investigators Association of British Columbia (PIABC).  The current increase in bodily injury claims and associated high settlement costs can be reduced with more frequent and thorough investigations of suspicious injury claims.  Such investigations can help reduce future rate increases that invariably result from significant increases in settlement costs.

ICBC's focus on public education, accident and impaired driving reduction is laudable but these are only part of an effective solution to significantly reduce bodily injury claims and costs.  "We believe that bodily injury claims and cost increases in 2010 have a direct correlation to ICBC's current mandate which is to reduce outside allocated expenses.  That mandate does not place a high priority on identifying and investigating suspected fraud.   Our members report that ICBC dramatically reduced the use of professional investigation in suspected fraudulent injury claims.  Such investigations are an important tool in claims risk mitigation, and are part of  standard practices for insurance companies across North America" said Mr. Hryb.  Studies show that every one dollar spent on programs supporting fraud detection and thorough investigation returns a very much greater savings to rate payers.

False or purposefully exaggerated insurance claims are illegal, unethical and add to rate premium increases for all BC motorists.  ICBC pays an estimated $310-$465 million each year for fraudulent claims, resulting in an extra $100-$150 on the yearly premiums of BC rate payers.  ICBC should be more diligent in detecting, investigating and defending against such claims by using all available and appropriate resources.  PIABC members believe this view reflects the sentiment of the majority of British Columbians.

ICBC should do more to reduce bodily injury related costs by increasing allocated expenses for investigation, develop policies and procedures that effectively identify suspicious claims and encourage adjusters and managers to initiate thorough investigations under all such circumstances.  This will result in real returns on the investment that ultimately comes from rate payers in BC.   It is the belief of PIABC that the alternative will ultimately lead to significantly higher insurance premiums in the near future.

The detrimental effect of not thoroughly scrutinising suspicious claims using experienced and skilled investigators is obvious.  ICBC adjusters will have less accurate information to settle or deny claims.  As well, lawyers representing ICBC, and therefore the rate payers of British Columbia, will have less accurate information to support their efforts to either fairly settle a justified claim or more rigorously defend against a fraudulent or exaggerated claim.

Even more damaging is the climate that may be created when suspicious claims are systematically not properly investigated.  Such a climate may attract more abuse, especially by organized and semi-organized crime groups seeking to take advantage of any perceived tolerance for fraud.  It will become even more difficult to reduce insurance fraud once these criminal groups entrench such activities within their illegal practices.  Early prevention is much less onerous and costly than delayed mitigation.

Background on the Private Investigators Association of British Columbia

The Private Investigators' Association of British Columbia (PIABC)  is an incorporated association of licensed Private Investigators and investigation firms in British Columbia.   It is the only private investigation association in BC that is recognized by the Canadian Association of Private Investigators (CAPI), the official voice of private investigators in Canada.  PIABC holds its members to a strict code of ethics to ensure that the public and industry clients are well served.  Member firms of PIABC qualify for investigative body status under federal privacy legislation.  In British Columbia, businesses and individuals offering private investigation services must hold a valid security license as per the terms of the Security Services Act of our province.  

PIABC serves our members by providing them with a collective voice, representing their interests to government and industry. We offer our members training and learning, networking, employment opportunities, business and investigative resources.

Many PIABC members have extensive  professional investigation experience and come from occupations such as accountants, human resources specialists, computer and related technology specialists, insurance adjusters, and police officers.

PIABC members have been used very successfully for many years to uncover fraudulent insurance claims as well as corroborate assertions of serious injuries to the benefit of the claimants.  They are relied upon to investigate incidents by ICBC as well as other Crown corporations and private insurers.  PIABC members also serve other industries such as the retail sector, private corporations and citizens.

SOURCE Private Investigators Association of British Columbia

For further information:

Taras Hryb, President PIABC
(604) 937-3355

Guy Lanki
604 930-0399

Tom Span
604 687-2944

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Private Investigators Association of British Columbia

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