Canadian Underwriter

Dedicated prosecutor way to increase sentences

March 31, 2008   by

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Ontario needs a dedicated insurance prosecutor, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says.

This would help to ensure that cases move faster to trial, reducing the number of arguments of delay in the Court system, according to Rick Dubin, vice president of investigative services for the IBC.

Another alternative would be to set up an office of the insurance fraud prosecutor, which would involve a partnership between law enforcement investigators and prosecutors.

This system is currently used in New Jersey, Dubin notes, where there is significant jail time and fines.

Dubin says a new approach to prosecuting insurance fraud cases is needed because few involved in organized insurance fraud spend time in jail — mainly due to time delays in the judicial system.

In some instances, as many as four different prosecutors will handle a single file, which can cause huge delays, Dubin says. Also, because of the huge payouts and low punishments, there is no real deterrent for those involved.

“The [Greater Toronto Area] is really the capital for organized insurance crime,” he says.

Accident benefits in Ontario are very generous, which is another reason that many accidents are staged in the province of Ontario, Dubin says.

At this time, it is estimated that Canadians lose well over $3 billion dollars a year to insurance fraud. Dubin says he thinks that number is conservative.