A scamming cyclist tops the list of insurance frauds for 2003, according to the annual survey by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). While the list makes light of ridiculous insurance frauds committed each year, fraud is no laughing matter, costing insurers $1.3 billion last year alone. This works out to about 15% of every premium paid going to pay the cost of fraud. “It never fails to amaze me that people think they can get away with these ill-thought-out schemes to defraud insurers and burden honest policyholders,” says Rick Dubin, vice president, investigations, for the IBC. For example, there is the cyclist who had his girlfriend run into him with her car, having shoved a toothpick up his nose to ensure he would bleed enough to claim injury. The girlfriend’s testimony and the toothpick as evidence were enough to ensure the insurer won out in court. Also on the list is a drunk driver who fled the scene of the accident he caused, driving his truck to a remote location and setting it on fire. His claim that the accident was caused by someone who had stolen his truck did not hold up, and he now faces drunk driving and fraud charges. And in another example, 44 passengers on a bus claimed injury from a minor collision caused by a truck. It turns out all of the claimants, plus the truck driver were in on a scheme to claim bogus rehabilitation costs, and now all face fraud charges. Dubin notes that fraud is only getting worse. This year we have been seeing a greater prevalence of staged accident rings claiming for accident benefit/bodily injuries. It’s these kinds of claims that are the most expensive kind of abuse on the property and casualty insurance industry and it is little wonder there are two stories about this type of personal injury insurance fraud on this year’s list.” The full list is available at www.ibc.ca.