Learn how to spot insurance fraud - don't be a victim.
TORONTO, March 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Take the time. Report the crime. That's the message to consumers from Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) during Fraud Prevention Month. IBC's goal is to reduce insurance fraud. According to the Ontario Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force Final Report auto insurance fraud in Ontario is estimated to cost consumers up to $1.6 billion a year in insurance premiums. These estimated costs do not include additional health care, emergency services and court costs.
"Consumers can help by learning about the different types of insurance fraud and then reporting any suspicious activity," says Rick Dubin, IBC's Vice-President of Investigations. "When someone makes a false or exaggerated claim, honest policyholders pay for it. We all have an interest in reducing insurance fraud."
Dubin heads up IBC's national investigative team focusing on organized crime rings, specifically those involved in auto theft or fraudulent injury and accident benefit claims. IBC also partners with law enforcement, government agencies, and insurance companies across the country to identify suspected insurance crime, investigate fraudsters and scam artists, and bring criminals to justice.
Five common types of insurance fraud are:
- Unscrupulous auto repair shops that intentionally cause additional damage to a vehicle involved in an accident or bill several different insurers for repairing the same prior damage to a vehicle;
- Medical clinics that ask claimants to sign blank accident benefit forms, then bill insurers for services never provided;
- Individuals who privately sell a stolen vehicle to an unsuspecting consumer after changing the vehicle identification number to hide its true identity;
- Collisions that don't seem to make sense, where a driver intentionally causes a collision with an unsuspecting driver and makes it look as if the innocent driver is at fault for the collision; and
- Medical clinics that forge the signatures of legitimate medical practitioners and use their names and college registration numbers without their knowledge or consent on accident benefit forms and then bill insurers for services never provided.
"During Fraud Prevention Month IBC wants to create a greater awareness of insurance fraud and its consequences" says Dubin. "The more people report fraud, the more fraudsters and scam artists we can bring to justice."
Tips for protecting yourself against insurance fraud
- Do not sign blank accident forms.
- If purchasing a vehicle privately, run a full history search on the vehicle and have a qualified mechanic review the vehicle's condition. IBC recommends purchasing a vehicle from a reputable dealership.
- If you're involved in a collision, immediately report it to your insurance company, who will then be able to recommend a reliable auto body repair facility that will provide quality repairs.
- If you suspect a collision may have been staged, immediately report the incident to the police and to your insurance company. You should also call IBC's toll-free TIPS Line (see below).
It's easy for consumers to report suspected exaggerated claims, staged auto collisions and other crimes related to insurance. Call IBC's anonymous toll-free TIPS Line at 1-877-IBC-TIPS (422-8477) or submit a tip online at www.ibc.ca under Report Insurance Crime.
To view a short video with Rick Dubin on examples of insurance frauds and how to report it click here
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.
To view media releases and other information, visit the media section of IBC's website at www.ibc.ca and for IBC on Twitter follow @insurancebureau.
SOURCE: INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA
For further information:
If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.
To schedule an interview, please contact:
Insurance Bureau of Canada
Media Relations Officer
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031 ext. 4312