Busted! SGI's top five insurance fraud cases
March 13, 2023, 10:52 am
SGI's Special Investigation Unit investigates odd and unusual insurance claims, some of which turn out to be untrue
Insurance is there when you need it, but some people create deceptive stories to collect it even when they don't.
That's where SGI's Special Investigation Unit (SIU) comes in.
In 2022, SIU busted hundreds of fraudulent claims – resulting in $5.8 million in savings for SGI. This important work preventing insurance fraud helps keep insurance rates low for our valued customers.
Here's a look at some eyebrow-raising attempted insurance frauds from 2022:
A customer – we’ll call him Cole* -- reported his vehicle missing. He claimed the vehicle had been parked in front of his house with a spare key locked inside.
One hour after Cole reported the vehicle missing, police found it a short walk from his house, on the front lawn of someone else’s property. It had collided into a nearby parked vehicle and a tree.
Cole then filed a theft and collision claim with SGI, while another customer filed a claim for the parked vehicle and property damage was also submitted.
SIU found security footage that showed the subject vehicle travelled at a high rate of speed, lost control and collided with a parked vehicle, then the tree. The footage shows a person matching Cole’s description walking away from the vehicle and locking it with a fob. Cole confessed to causing the collision following a celebration - saying he should not have been driving.
Cole 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. SIU found that, during the investigation, the vehicle’s odometer had somehow been rolled back. Investigators discovered that Jessie rolled back the truck’s odometer to show 150,000 fewer kilometres than what should have been on the engine, in order to increase the value of the truck.
Jessie withdrew her claim after being confronted with the SIU findings – saving SGI $7,000.
Connor* told SGI he and his girlfriend were travelling around 55 km/hr through foggy conditions in the early morning hours when he missed a turnoff and hit an 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.
The residents of the home reported to police that the couple said they did not want police to know about the collision.
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. SIU found Connor’s account of the incident was unreliable and vague.
His claim was denied for misrepresentation and saved SGI $40,000.
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 – and registration had been purchased by Allison less than an hour after the crash. SIU believes Allison also returned to set the vehicle on fire in order to receive a payout.
The claim was denied, saving SGI $5,000
Katherine* filed a claim with SGI, stating she fell asleep while driving and collided with a parked vehicle. Katherine 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. It was discovered she had lied to her bank about being able to make her delinquent payments in order to “buy herself some time.” Crash data retrieval evidence showed the vehicle was fully idle five seconds before the collision. That evidence showed that this was followed by a fast depression of the gas pedal, which sent the vehicle propelling forward, with a peak speed of 31 km/h upon impact. SIU believes Katherine caused the collision intentionally to avoid having the vehicle repossessed.
Total savings? $63,000.
When making insurance claims, the important thing to do is always be honest about the incident.
Anyone with information about potential insurance fraud is encouraged to contact SGI's Special Investigation Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-667-8015, ext. 6887. To report anonymously, call Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
*All names in these scenarios have been changed.