A car pushed off a 24-metre cliff.
A made-up wife.
A friend pressured to take a fall.
They aren't part of the plot of a new thriller. Just the real stories of insurance fraud discovered by SGI (Saskatchewan Government Insurance) last year.
As part of March's Fraud Prevention Month, the Crown corporation is warning people who might attempt to file a false report.
"We just want to encourage people to be honest when they're working through an insurance claim," Jennifer Sully, a spokesperson for SGI, told CBC's Afternoon Edition on Tuesday.
"Some people might think that insurance fraud really only affects SGI, but every time a fraudulent claim's paid, everyone else has to pay the cost in higher insurance premiums."
Here are what SGI calls its "top 5 insurance fraud cases" from 2020:
Sully says that some claims become suspicious when the customer changes their story a couple of times.
For instance, SGI says last year a customer had lent her son, Roy, her vehicle, in the belief that his friend would drive. (All the names have been changed by SGI.)
But when the vehicle crashed into a well-marked hole in a construction zone, police arriving at the scene were told it was Roy's friend Pam driving the car.
Then when police attempted to administer a breath test, Pam said she hadn't been driving.
Pam, who blew just under the legal limit, would repeatedly flip-flop on her story.
So SGI called in its Special Investigation Unit (SIU), which investigates suspicious and possibly fraudulent claims. All have a background in law enforcement.
Pam eventually admitted to SIU that Roy had been driving the vehicle. She revealed text messages, photographs, money transfers and video showing she had been pressured to take the blame.
Pam was encouraged to go to police and tell the truth.
Investigators were then able to determine that Roy had been the operator. He was later criminally charged for making a false statement and driving while suspended.
Over the edge
Jessica told SGI that her car had been stolen.
Police investigators would later find the vehicle was driven to a 24-metre cliff and pushed off the edge.
"I didn't even know we had those in the Prairies, but I guess we do," said Sully.
Jessica had outstanding bills for repairs on the vehicle.
Despite her claim that the vehicle was stolen, SGI determined there was no evidence the car had been broken into and no keys were found at the scene. The claim was denied.
Sheldon filed a claim for a stolen SUV. He told SGI that he was away with the only key when the vehicle was stolen and subsequently involved in a hit-and-run.
Sheldon, who did not report the "theft" to the police, claimed to have bought the vehicle for a video game console and about $2,000 — well below the value of the SUV.
When investigators told him about the hit and run, he said he was home with his wife. Later, he would clarify that he wasn't married and that he lived alone.
SGI found that Sheldon made the claim because the man who is believed to have been driving the SUV in the hit-and-run was a friend.
A family business
A tractor that was heavily damaged in a fire almost landed a family in hot water, according to SGI.
Although Kyle had Agro Pak insurance the tractor was not included in the policy.
Kyle's parents contacted the insurance brokerage where they learned of a 30-day acquisition clause that extends coverage to any newly acquired machinery. After learning of the clause, Kyle's parents let SGI know that Kyle had recently purchased the tractor from them and provided a hand-written bill of sale that was dated within the 30-day clause.
SGI was also told that a down payment of livestock had been made but no money had changed hands.
The circumstances of the sale were highly suspicious and, SGI says, Kyle withdrew his claim after considering his options with SIU.
Fiona reported to SGI that her vehicle had been stolen from her home and she still had the only key.
When SIU investigated, they found that the missing vehicle had actually been exported out of the country years ago, and the key she had was for a different vehicle.
"Due to her unbelievable story, she was denied coverage for a savings of approximately $47,000," SGI said in its news release.