Police nab alleged insurance fraudsters in Hamilton

TORONTO, Aug. 24, 2011 – Today, after months of working closely with Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and its member companies, Hamilton Police executed search warrants against two collision centres in the city for allegedly perpetrating insurance fraud. So far, three local individuals have been arrested.

“Today’s arrests are further evidence that insurance fraud is a real problem in Ontario,” said Ralph Palumbo, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. “And when fraudsters cheat the system, honest policyholders end up paying in the form of higher premiums.”

Insurance fraud is big business in Ontario. Today, IBC is investigating approximately 50 multi-case fraud projects in the Greater Toronto Area, many involving staged collisions and associated service provider fraud. But a recent IBC poll indicates that less than half of Ontarians – only 47% – understand the impact that insurance fraud has on premiums.

“We all have a responsibility to understand how fraud works against the interests of consumers and to root it out so that premiums will stabilize,” added Palumbo.

“Today’s arrests are a great example of what can be done when police, insurers and other stakeholders work together to fight crime. We were very pleased that Hamilton Police approached us to help with this investigation,” he said.

IBC has advocated for measures to address the underlying factors that contribute to the problem of insurance fraud, including strict regulation to oversee the ownership and operation of medical clinics in Ontario, combined with tougher criminal and civil penalties pertaining to identity fraud and theft. In July, the provincial government announced the composition of its Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force.

TAKE THE TIME, REPORT THE CRIME. Visit www.ibc.ca or call 1-877-IBC-TIPS to submit a confidential tip or to learn more about insurance fraud.

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. www.ibc.ca.