TORONTO, March 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is a proud supporter of Fraud Prevention Month, which takes place every March across Canada. To kick off this consumer-awareness month, IBC is participating in a number of events and providing tips to help detect and avoid auto insurance fraud.
"Auto insurance fraud is a serious issue that's estimated to cost as much as $1.6 billion a year in Ontario alone," said Rick Dubin, Vice-President, Investigative Services, IBC. "It's a big business that siphons resources away from our health care system, ties up our emergency services and courts, and drives up insurance costs."
IBC continues to work with governments to help deter fraud in jurisdictions across the country. IBC was pleased to see the Ontario legislature pass Bill 15, which aims to reduce insurance fraud, regulate tow and storage services, and protect consumers. IBC also works with partners across the country – including Crime Stoppers and police services – to help investigate and raise awareness of fraud.
Types of auto insurance fraud:
- Staged collisions and associated service-supplier fraud
- Altering the vehicle identification number (VIN) to hide that the vehicle has been branded as damaged or unsafe (also known as reVINing)
- Personal injury fraud
IBC initiatives to help identify and deter fraud:
- Tip line and webpage
o IBC launched a webpage and toll-free line to allow consumers to anonymously report insurance fraud.
- Provincial Auto Theft Network (PATNET)
o This award-winning IBC program brings together law enforcement agencies and the insurance industry to reduce auto theft and insurance fraud.
- VIN Verify Service
o This free IBC service allows consumers to check a database containing information from participating IBC member insurance companies to determine whether the vehicle they are considering purchasing has been reported as being seriously damaged in a flood.
- The Safety Mobile
o IBC's simulator teaches drivers about staged collisions, as well as the dangers of texting and driving.
"Fraudsters have a long history of causing headaches and unnecessary costs for families," added Dubin. "Take a few minutes to review IBC's Top 10 tips on how you can detect, avoid and report auto insurance fraud."
IBC's Top 10 tips to detect and avoid auto insurance fraud are:
1. Be buyer aware.
- Select a reputable dealer and look into the vehicle's history.
- If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Inspect the vehicle you're considering buying to make sure it wasn't in a flood.
- Check for water stains and mildew. Also look for sand and/or silt under the carpets, floor mats and headliner cloth, and behind the dashboard.
3. Look for rust on the screws on the console and in other areas where water doesn't normally reach. Check IBC's VIN Verify Service.
- Make sure that the vehicle hasn't been reVINed to hide that it was branded as non-repairable.
4. Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle before buying it.
5. Avoid staged collisions.
- Never tailgate; instead, allow ample time to stop.
- Look well beyond the front of your car while driving.
6. If you suspect that you were a victim of a staged collision, call the police from the accident scene and use IBC's tip reporting program.
7. In the event of a collision, document all that you can.
- Write down the other vehicle's licence plate number, photograph the damage, note the other driver's behaviour and watch for the warning signs of a scam.
- Fill out the IBC collision report form.
8. Use a reputable tow truck service.
- Be sure the tow truck has a licensing number.
- Carefully read anything you are asked to sign.
- Ask that your vehicle be towed to a secure location of your choosing.
9. In the event of a collision, call your insurance representative as soon as possible.
- Understand your policy and know your coverage.
10. 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.
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
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