IBC – Ontarians recognize insurance fraud is a problem but they don’t know where to report it

Bookmark and Share

TORONTO, March 22, 2012 – During Fraud Awareness month, organizations across the country have been explaining to their customers and the public what to look out for when it comes to fraudulent behavior. But, surprisingly, a recent Pollara Poll, commissioned for the insurance industry, suggests these same people still don’t know where to report fraudulent activity.

Ralph Palumbo – Vice President, Ontario Region, for Insurance Bureau of Canada says, “Ontarians can draw the conclusion that fraud has an influence on the price of auto insurance. But we know when fraudsters cheat, you pay.”

The vast majority of Ontarians (83%) believe insurance fraud occurs frequently or occasionally in the province. Very few (14%) see it as a rare occurrence. Almost everyone in the province (96%) sees the link between insurance fraud and higher premiums for drivers. Palumbo adds, “Clearly, Ontarians understand that there is a problem to be addressed.”

Insurance fraud comes in many forms, and the perpetrators don’t always look like criminals. Sometimes it’s the work of organized groups – including associated service providers (e.g. medical rehab clinics, tow truck drivers) – or gangs that stage collisions or coordinate the shipping of stolen vehicles overseas. But insurance fraud can also involve normally law-abiding citizens who see a chance to make extra dollars by padding an otherwise legitimate claim.

The Pollara Poll also found that 72% of Ontarians would likely report a person in the health industry who commits insurance fraud. However, the majority of Ontarians (58%) would not know where to report someone working in a health clinic that was engaging in fraudulent activity.

When presented with options for reporting, the majority choose the police (68%), or their insurance company/broker/agent (67%). Fewer would report fraud to Ontario’s insurance regulator (51%) and Ontario’s regulator of health practitioners or health clinics (47%).

All of these work, but the key is in streamlining the process and getting people to make the call. Palumbo says, “We work with law enforcement and insurers to identify criminal activity.” He adds, “You can help combat insurance fraud, and to help catch these fraudsters, if you have any information about insurance crime, call our anonymous TIPS line (1-877-IBC TIPS). It’s an excellent first step.”

For fraud prevention tips, visit our website at ibc.ca, our blog at getintheknow.ibc.ca or follow us on Twitter @insurancebureau. We tweet the best of our fraud prevention tips each Friday with the hash tag #fraudfightingfriday.

For media interviews with Ralph Palumbo, please contact Steve Kee, Director, Media Relations with IBC at 416-362-2031 X-4387.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the private 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.

To view media releases and information, visit the Media Centre of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.