July 13, 2006 – Manitoba Public Insurance saved ratepayers $12.5 million last year by fighting fraud, but the corporation thinks those savings could climb far higher if more Manitobans used the TIPS line to report suspected fraudsters.
In an effort to generate more calls, Manitoba Public Insurance is launching a new advertising campaign that encourages honest Manitobans to make a difference and report fraudulent activity.
�When someone commits auto insurance fraud, they�re ripping off all of the other ratepayers,� said Randy Bell, Manager of the Special Investigation Unit of Manitoba Public Insurance.
�It�s important for all honest people to do their part in efforts to reduce insurance fraud. Calling the TIPS Line doesn�t take any effort and it�s completely anonymous.�
Last year anonymous calls to the TIPS Line resulted in 1,500 investigations that led to $700,000 in savings and six people being charged with various fraud offences.
In total the Special Investigations Unit carried out 2,800 anti-fraud investigations, including many initiated by diligent adjusters, estimators and bodily injury case managers.
One of the largest financial penalties last year was handed to a Winnipeg man who received a fine of $8,627 and ordered to pay $42,552 in restitution to Manitoba Public Insurance after pleading guilty to one court of fraud over $5,000. The man was discovered to have been running a home restoration business while collecting injury benefits from Manitoba Public Insurance.
Manitoba�s justice system has taken a tough stand against fraud, as evidenced in $38,000 in fines ordered between March 1, 2005 and February 28, 2006. The Crown attorney seconded to Manitoba Public Insurance also secured $67,000 in restitution orders from Manitoba courts.
Insurance fraud comes in many forms: bogus hit-and-run claims, exaggerated hail claims, faking a bodily injury or staging an accident, said Bell.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada�s Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that fraud costs Canadians up to $2.3 billion every year and that 10 to 15 per cent of costs associated with all types of insurance claims are either exaggerated, or fraudulent.
Manitoba Public Insurance is a nonprofit Crown Corporation that has provided basic automobile coverage since 1971. More information at www.mpi.mb.ca