March 21, 2023 by Jason Contant
Some claims show obvious elements of fraud but others go above and beyond. Such was the case with Saskatchewan Government Insurance’s (SGI) Top 5 “eyebrow-raising” attempted auto insurance frauds from 2022.
SGI released last week their Top 5 list of odd and unusual attempted insurance fraud claims. In total, the public auto insurer’s special investigation unit (SIU) busted hundreds of fraudulent claims last year, resulting in $5.8 million in savings for SGI.
Here’s a look at the public insurer’s Top 5 fraudulent auto claims of 2022:
Connor (all names in these scenarios have been changed) said he was travelling with his girlfriend at about 55 km/h through foggy conditions in the early morning hours when he missed a turnoff and struck and abandoned vehicle on the shoulder of the highway.
“He said they panicked and walked to a nearby house for help, rather than calling the police,” SGI said in a press release. Residents of the home reported to police that the couple told them they didn’t want police to know about the collision.
SGI said police visited the collision site and saw several “concerning items” inside the vehicle, including drug paraphernalia. “Additionally, there was no evidence of fog that morning and no nearby turnoff that the driver could have missed. SIU discovered the vehicle was travelling at double the reported speed, and additional witnesses claimed Connor and his girlfriend were both very intoxicated.”
The government insurer’s special investigations unit (SIU) found Connor’s account of the incident “unreliable and vague,” denying the claim for misrepresentation and saving SGI $40,000.
Katherine filed a claim with SGI, stating she fell asleep while driving and collided with a parked vehicle. She also admitted to “significant financial hardship” and had recently spoken with a bailiff about repossession of her high-valued SUV the day before the collision.
SIU conducted several interviews to confirm Katherine was in financial trouble. They discovered she had lied to her bank about being able to make payments in order to “buy herself some time.”
Crash data retrieval showed the vehicle was fully idle five seconds before the collision, followed by a fast depression of the gas pedal. This sent the vehicle propelling forward, with a peak speed of 31 km/h upon impact.
SIU believed Katherine caused the collision intentionally to avoid having the vehicle repossessed. Total savings were $63,000.
Cole reported his vehicle missing, saying it was parked in front of his house with a spare key locked inside.
One hour after reporting the alleged theft, police found it a short walk from his house, on the front lawn of someone else’s property. The vehicle had collided into a nearby parked vehicle and a tree. Cole filed a theft and collision claim with SGI, while another customer filed a claim for the parked vehicle and property damage.
SIU found security footage showing the first vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed, losing control and then colliding with the parked vehicle and tree.
“The footage shows a person matching Cole’s description walking away from the vehicle and locking it with a fob,” SGI said. “Cole confessed to causing the collision following a celebration – saying he should not have been driving.”
He was on the hook for $50,000 in vehicle and property damage.
Jessie submitted a claim saying she drove her truck through a “dip with standing water,” which caused the engine to quit. The truck needed a costly engine repair or replacement.
During the investigation, SIU found the vehicle’s odometer had been rolled back. Investigators determined Jessie rolled back the truck’s odometer to show 150,000 fewer kilometres in order to increase the value of the truck.
Jessie withdrew her claim after being confronted with the SIU findings, saving SGI $7,000.
Allison filed a claim stating she hit a deer and left her vehicle at the roadside. She said when she came back to the vehicle, it had been completely burned.
SIU contacted a witness who saw two people remove belongings from the vehicle before the vehicle went up in flames a short time later. SIU discovered the vehicle was not registered at the time of the collision; registration had been purchased by Allison less than an hour after the crash. SIU also believes Allison returned to set the vehicle on fire to receive a payout.
The claim was denied, saving SGI $5,000.
Feature image by iStock.com/David-Prado