WINNIPEG – From staged car accidents to bogus car theft claims, Manitoba Public Insurance had to deal with a lot of fraud cases in 2016.
MPI’s special investigation unit takes a look at all suspicious claims, and this year they looked at 2,100 such cases.
“The special investigation unit is made up of a number of former police officers, both RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service,” MPI’s Brian Smiley explains. “As a result of their fraud-fighting efforts, they saved Manitoba Public Insurance and our ratepayers $8.2-million.”
They also released their top five fraud cases of 2016:
1. A person said he was hit by a car and not able to work, but the driver was adamant that nothing happened. Turns out, the driver was right. After looking at security footage, it was clear that the pedestrian was not hit by a car, so the claim was denied.
2. A Porsche owner claimed that his car was stolen from his apartment block. However, RCMP told MPI that a badly damaged Porsche had been found in a rural area the day before the owner claimed the car was stolen. The car was in major need of repairs, so MPI determined it was all a rouse and denied the claim.
3. A man was seriously hurt while in the US, so his family opened an injury claim with MPI. The man had not lived in Manitoba for several years, though, which made him ineligible for personal injury protection plan benefits. The man’s family then withdrew the claim, saving MPI roughly $500,000.
4. A father and son were asked to give a statement to an investigator about a stolen truck. The son then offered to pay nearly $11,000 in damage costs but didn’t want to discuss his financial generosity. Turns out the son had taken the truck and rear-ended another vehicle in front of a number of witnesses.
5. Two cars collided and were badly damaged, but the two drivers knew each other and their cars were both in rough shape. It was determined that this crash was no accident, but a staged collision. One person pleaded guilty to fraud and had to repay $17,000 to MPI. The other driver did not appear in court and there is now a warrant out for his arrest.
If you find yourself in a pickle, Smiley recommends you just come clean.
“If you’re thinking of doing something fraudulent, you may want to think twice. In some situations, people will lie. If they were just truthful, chances are their claim would be honoured anyway.”