SGI details 5 insurance scams it says people tried to run in 2022
There were some pretty tall tales floating through SGI insurance claims offices last year.
Like the one about a woman who hit a deer with her car only to have the vehicle burst into flames a short time later.
Or the one about a man who reported his vehicle stolen from in front of his house, then police found it crashed into another car on a lawn nearby.
As it turns out, neither of those stories were the whole truth, according to facts uncovered by SGI's special investigation unit.
"There are some estimates that as many as 20 per cent of insurance claims across the industry might involve some degree of deception or exaggeration," said SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy.
In conjunction with fraud prevention month SGI, released its top five insurance fraud cases from last year. In total, SGI's special investigation unit uncovered hundreds of fraudulent claims in 2022, saving the Crown insurer about $5.8 million, McMurchy said.
If he's picking his favourite, McMurchy said he has to go with one he calls the "deer dupe."
D'oh, a deer?
SGI says a woman claimed to have hit a deer with her car, left the accident scene and returned to discover her car had burned to the ground.
SGI says investigators found witnesses who saw two people removing belongings from the vehicle before it started on fire.
The vehicle wasn't registered at the time of the collision, but was the woman registered it one hour later, SGI says.
SGI's investigators believe the woman returned to the site of the crash and lit the vehicle on fire to receive a payout.
Result? A $5,000 claim denied.
McMurchy said that, for the most part, people who submit fraudulent claims aren't prosecuted, but they can be on the hook for their claim and additional damages.
Caught on camera
SGI says a customer called Cole reported that his locked vehicle was stolen from in front of his house with a spare key inside.
Police found the vehicle on a nearby lawn. It had crashed into a parked car and a tree.
Cole and the owner of the parked car filed claims for damages.
SGI says investigators found security footage of Cole's "stolen" vehicle speeding, losing control and hitting the car then tree. Then a person who looked like Cole got out of the vehicle, locked it with a fob and walked away, SGI says.
Cole ultimately confessed to driving following a party.
Result? Cole was on the hook for $50,000 in property and vehicle damages
McMurchy said that the proliferation of technology, including doorbell cameras and dashcams, makes it harder for fraudsters to succeed.
"There are cases every year where video footage is uncovered that essentially tells a different story than the person was trying to sell to SGI," he said.
SGI says a woman claimed to have fallen asleep while driving, causing her to hit a parked car.
Investigators conducted several interviews and discovered the woman was having financial trouble and had been delinquent on payments, SGI says.
SGI retrieved crash data that showed the woman's car was idle for a full five seconds, then the gas pedal was depressed quickly, pushing it to 31 km/h before impact.
Those facts led investigators to determine the woman caused the accident on purpose to avoid having her vehicle repossessed, SGI says.
Result? SGI saved $63,000.
SGI says a woman submitted a claim saying she drove her truck through some standing water, which caused the engine to quit.
Investigators determined the truck's odometer had been rolled back by 150,000 kilometres to increase the truck's value, SGI says.
Result? The woman withdrew her claim of $7,000.
SGI says a man claimed he was driving in foggy conditions early in the morning when he missed a turnoff and hit an abandoned vehicle.
He and his girlfriend walked to a home for help, telling the residents they didn't want to report the accident to police.
When police arrived they found drugs in the vehicle and no evidence that there was a turnoff or fog, SGI says.
Witnesses said the man and his girlfriend were intoxicated.
Result? Claim denied saving SGI $40,000.