ICBC is vowing to do more to bust auto insurance fraudsters whose scams add an estimated $100 a year to the premiums all other drivers pay.
The public auto insurer released its top “Hall of Shame” fraud claims for 2015 where B.C. residents tried to scam the system last year.
Dish Dodger – A man claimed his crash injuries were so severe he couldn’t help his wife wash the dishes, but investigators later got footage of him lifting a box of heavy floor tiles at his work site. He was fined $1,500 for fraud.
Double Dipper – A Vancouver woman who claimed she couldn’t go back to work because of her crash injuries. An anonymous tip helped investigators confirm she had worked sinced the crash, collecting two paycheques – one from her employer and one from ICBC. Her fraud conviction netted her a one-year driving suspension and $1,750 fine.
Mom Cover-up – A Vancouver island mother claimed her Audi was stolen and crashed and that her sons with access to the car were home. But phone records put one son at the scene of the crash and BC Ferry terminal cameras caught the same son buying a ticket. Both were convicted of giving false statements. The mom was fined $2,300, while the son was fined $1,150 and got a one-year suspension, plus a 90-day jail term because his licence was already suspended.
Dash Cam Disclosure – A Lower Mainland caught another vehicle sideswiping his on dash cam video and excitedly shared the footage with ICBC. His claim was denied because the video also showed he wasn’t actually driving, as he’d claimed. An unlicensed driver was behind the wheel.
Electronic Exposure – A Fraser Valley was busted by his own BMW after he claimed the car was stolen and burnt to a crisp in a nearby park. The vehicle’s technology proved the man’s key fob had been used at the time of the incident, contrary to what he claimed.
Bus Blues – A bus hit a parked fire truck while turning in a bus loop. After all passengers exited and the driver exchanged information with the fire truck driver, another man claimed to have been on board the bus and later sought compensation. Security camera video showed the man was never on the bus. He was fined and jailed one night for fraud.
ICBC conducted 7,500 fraud investigations last year and its special investigations unit has secured 550 fraud convictions since 2010.
“We’re going to devote more resources than we ever have to rooting out fraud,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said, adding the special investigations unit is being expanded and a new fraud analytic tool is being deployed.
An estimated 10 to 20 per cent of auto insurance claims are at least exaggerated if not fraudulent and common scenarios include embellished injuries or owners who falsely claim their car was stolen when they actually sold it.
Organized fraud includes planned staged collisions and “jump-in” schemes where phoney passengers falsely claim to have been in a vehicle that crashed.