Potential loss to insurers was approximately five million
TORONTO, Aug. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada Vice-President of Investigative Services, Rick Dubin, hailed York Regional Police efforts as yet, "another step at driving a wedge into one of the alleged sophisticated fraud networks, operating throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)."
York Regional Police today provided details on Project Sideswipe, a case involving nine alleged staged collisions that occurred in York Region along with suspected associated false medical billings from several medical rehab and assessment centres located in Brampton, Toronto and Mississauga.
The Major Fraud Unit arrested 46 suspects and laid 142 charges, including Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Fraud under $5,000, Fraud over $5,000 and Obstruction of a Police Officer.
It is alleged that this ring recruited drivers and passengers to take part in staging collisions to support accident benefit insurance claims where medical rehab and assessment centres use the names, signatures and college registration numbers of medical practitioners, without their proper authorization, and invoice insurance companies for services that were not rendered. According to Dubin, "The potential loss to nine insurers is still being calculated but it is estimated to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of five million."
Dubin added that crime rings like this hurt us all. "Everyone - including the insurance industry - agrees that auto insurance premiums in Ontario are far too expensive. Insurance premiums are driven by claims costs and right now costs have been driven through the roof in Ontario as a result of fraud and abuse in the system. The Ontario Automobile Anti-Fraud Task Force Steering Committee released the results from the recent KPMG study that conservatively estimates that the cost of auto insurance fraud in Ontario ranges between $770 million and $1.6 billion per year."
Beginning this month, IBC has launched a new consumer awareness campaign that includes television, internet and newspaper ads; billboards, mail drops and mall displays in several urban centres. The objectives of the campaign are to stimulate feedback from drivers and other stakeholder groups on how to bring down the cost of auto insurance premiums in Ontario and to make it easier for consumers to understand their own insurance policies.
Fighting fraud is at the top of this list and controlling it is in everyone's best interest. To help combat insurance fraud, and help catch these fraudsters you can call the Insurance Bureau of Canada's anonymous TIPS line (1-877-IBC TIPS) or go to www.ibc.ca.
For more on fraud and how staged collisions take place, visit http://www.ibc.ca/en/Insurance_Crime/
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 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
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