Allstate Canada is tough on insurance fraud
TORONTO, Feb. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Whether it's a staged collision, arson or an exaggerated claim, insurance fraud comes in many forms, but fraud in any form costs all Canadians. March is Fraud Prevention Month, and Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is cracking down on insurance fraud and educating Canadians on how to protect themselves against this type of crime.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), fraudulent claims cost Canadian policyholders and insurance companies several billion dollars per year. The IBC estimates that at least 15 cents of every dollar policyholders pay for their insurance policies goes towards paying out false claims.
"There is no 'face' to insurance fraud or any sort of person who is more likely to commit it," says Saskia Matheson of Allstate Canada. "Too often people commit an insurance crime because it seems victimless, but it is Canadian drivers, tenants and homeowners who end up paying the price for other people's dishonesty," says Matheson.
Allstate Canada classifies insurance fraud as "hard" or "soft." Hard fraud is a deliberate attempt either to stage or invent an accident, injury, theft, fire or other type of loss that would be covered under an insurance policy. Soft fraud is the most common type of insurance fraud and happens when someone exaggerates a legitimate claim.
"We recently had a case where a customer reported a home invasion and provided an extensive list of contents from their home that were stolen," says Matheson, citing an example of soft fraud. "Our claims team compared the list of items to crime scene photos taken by police, and they discovered that several of the large ticket items that had been reported stolen were actually still in the house after the robbery. In the end, the insured was taken to court for fraud."
Allstate Canada is cracking down on fraud
Allstate Canada lists the most common types of insurance fraud as staged auto theft, arson, fake damages and inflated claims. Allstate Canada has experts in its Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to investigate questionable claims. While most insurance claims are legitimate, the Canadian Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that 10 to 20 per cent of claims may be false or contain some questionable element. Allstate Canada and its SIU continue to work on new and more effective ways to stop and prevent fraud. When a fraudulent claim is discovered, action is taken immediately — whether it is denying the claim, cancelling the policy or taking legal action against the perpetrators.
Allstate Canada reminds Canadians to provide complete and honest information to their insurance providers about their claims to avoid any delays or problems. Allstate Canada also offers advice at www.goodhandsadvice.ca/fight-fraud to help Canadians protect themselves against insurance fraud and to help keep costs down for everyone.
- If you're involved in an automobile collision, be sure to obtain the proper information from the other party. Take down the licence plate numbers and get a copy of the police report.
- When using tow trucks, use your insurance company's network of trusted vendors and read carefully everything the tow truck driver asks you to sign.
- Keep detailed records of your medical treatments. Make sure treatments are necessary and include all dates, locations and who provided the treatments and what diagnoses and services you received.
- Read all forms before signing and never sign a blank insurance form.
- Never take referrals offered by a stranger.
- Keep track of what you own with Allstate Canada's homeowners checklist: http://goodhandsadvice.ca/media/pdfs/Allstate-homeowners-checklist-ENG-29-07-11.pdf
If you suspect insurance fraud, report it immediately to the police. To submit a confidential tip to the IBC regarding insurance crime, call 1-877-IBC-TIPS. For more information on how to protect yourself from insurance fraud, contact your insurance agency, visit www.goodhandsadvice.ca/fight-fraud, or call the Customer Contact Centre at 1-800-ALLSTATE.
Allstate Canada is committed to helping promote fraud awareness and is working with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) during its 2012 Crime Prevention Campaign to educate the general public on the consequences and preventative measures related to personal property crimes which affect us all. To find out what Allstate Canada is doing to protect you and your family against insurance fraud, visit the "Good Hands Network" at www.goodhandsadvice.ca.
About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of Canada's leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products. "The Good Hands Network®" enables consumers to contact Allstate Canada through one of 92 community-based Agencies, directly online at www.allstate.ca and through the Customer Contact Centre at 1-800-Allstate. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), Crime Stoppers, United Way and Junior Achievement. In 2010, Allstate Canada, in partnership with the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), created the Allstate All-Canadians program, a mentorship program designed to guide the next generation of Canada's hockey youth. Learn more about this program at www.allcanadians.com. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.goodhandsadvice.ca or www.allstate.ca.
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For more information about insurance fraud or to speak with Saskia Matheson, Allstate Canada's official spokesperson, please contact: