VANCOUVER, May 14 – B.C. motorists saved more than $75 million in 2006, thanks to Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s (ICBC) anti-fraud programs. Savings are based on the estimated value of fraudulent claims that were denied, money recovered, and savings generated through fraud prevention.
“The rising cost of claims is a concern for ICBC. Cracking down on fraud is one of ICBC’s strategies to keep rates low and stable,” said Steve Tripp, manager Fraud Prevention and Investigation. “We will not sit back and simply pass the cost of fraud onto our customers.”
ICBC’s anti-fraud efforts led to 104 convictions against 69 defendants last year. More than $207,000 was paid back to ICBC in restitution and fines in 2006, up from $73,000 in 2005. And there was a significant increase in jail time. ICBC fraudsters were sentenced to a total 2,087 days behind bars in 2006.
Annually, ICBC invests approximately $8 million in fraud prevention and investigation programs, more than most property and casualty insurance companies in Canada. Last year, ICBC’s team of close to 90 investigators and staff conducted approximately 3,000 investigations covering all types of suspected, fraud including: staged collisions, exaggerated claims, premium fraud, licensing and identity fraud.
The general public is also a helpful resource in cracking down on potential fraudsters. ICBC’s anonymous tip line recorded over 10,000 calls last year. Anyone with information on a suspicious, exaggerated, or fraudulent claim is encouraged to phone 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844. Information provided to the fraud tips line is confidential, and callers can remain anonymous.
Real-life stories from ICBC’s fraud files
The moose mistake
It doesn’t pay to lie to ICBC. A Prince George resident was driving down a
logging road northwest of Mackenzie when he lost control of the vehicle
and crashed into a tree. At the time of the crash, the driver did not have a
valid driver’s licence, and the vehicle he was driving belonged to his wife.
When interviewed by ICBC, the driver and his wife lied about who was driving at the time of the crash and claimed they collided with a moose. A joint investigation by ICBC and RCMP from Prince George, Terrace, and Prince Rupert uncovered the truth. The driver was sentenced to four months in jail, while his wife received a three-month conditional sentence, one year probation, and was ordered to repay ICBC $26,360, the cost to repair the vehicle and to investigate the fraudulent claim.
Some dreams really do come true
Mr. R owned two vehicles. He carried full insurance coverage on his first vehicle, but only basic coverage on his second. Early one September morning, Mr. R awoke suddenly and began to vividly recall his dream. He had dreamt that his sister was going to be involved in a crash with this second vehicle. Mr. R jumped out of bed and drove off, in his first vehicle, to the local Autoplan agent, where he promptly added full insurance coverage to his second vehicle.
While driving home, Mr. R’s sister called to report she had just been in a crash. Mr. R. was stunned; his dream had come true. ICBC investigated the claim and uncovered that Mr. R couldn’t read the future. A number of witnesses, some with cellphone cameras, had seen his sister crash the vehicle hours prior to Mr. R rushing out to buy additional insurance coverage. The claim was denied.