Canadian Underwriter

B.C. Pushes Fraud Analysis, and is awarded $300,000

August 10, 2010   by Saba Taye

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This past March, the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) received a $300,000 court-awarded reimbursement after a fraudulent car theft ring was found guilty of faking the theft of seven vehicles.

The fraud ring, with some members based out of Surrey, B.C., would fake the car theft, collect the money from the ICBC, and then resell the vehicle as an Albertan import under false vehicle identification numbers and false vehicle registration documents. Surinder Kaur Gill, a broker for Park Insurance at the time, processed five of the seven stolen vehicles.

The ICBC is a provincial Crown corporation that provides B.C. residents with universal auto insurance. They invest approximately $8 million (CDN) in fraud prevention each year. Their Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is made up of 60 officers. The SIU handles about 3,000 cases of fraud and other criminal activity a year. These fraudulent and exaggerated cases cost approximately $100 to $150 per ICBC customer, per year.

Steven Tripp, manager of SIU with the ICBC, says the red flags officers are trained to spot don’t indicate guilt but are possible warning signs. The SIU spots fraudulent claims by using computer analysis and high-tech tools. Data is analyzed regularly to look for inconsistencies and potential red flags. The ICBC also has an anonymous tip line.

“The public also plays an important role,” Tripp says. “Our toll-free tip line receives hundreds of calls a month. ICBC investigators follow up on all tips and information about suspicious and fraudulent claims.”

Tripp suggests brokers protect themselves from possibly fraudulent claims with three easy steps.

  1. Always confirm the registered owner’s identity. By checking their driver’s licence, brokers can be sure that the person they are registering is who they say they are.
  2. If you are suspicious of a particular customer, keep detailed notes of the entire transaction.
  3. Make sure that the customer is filling out all the forms themselves. Brokers should never fill out their customer’s forms for them because a client can deny any involvement in the fraud by stating that they never filled out the transaction forms.

“The main thing that brokers need to be looking out for is that they are dealing with the right person,” Tripp says.

© Copyright 2010 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the June 2010 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.