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MPI’s Top 5 fraud claims: Sharp-eyed investigators saved system $14M in 2022, COO says

A staged crash, exaggerated injuries and filing a claim after driving under the influence are among Manitoba Public Insurance’s top fraudulent insurance claims of 2022.

Every year, MPI publishes its Top Five fraud list to raise awareness about the costs associated with auto insurance fraud, which cost insurance payers roughly $50 a year, according to Marnie Kacher, MPI’s chief operating officer.

In 2022, nearly 3,000 fraud investigations were closed, resulting in savings of more than $14 million, according to a news release issued Thursday.

Here are five of the fraudulent claims that stood out, according to MPI.

Exaggerated injuries

A person whose vehicle was hit by another driver who was changing lanes received income replacement benefits and personal care assistance through MPI, saying the collision caused serious injuries including a concussion, headaches, dizziness, back, knee and neck pain.

The person claimed the injuries were so severe they made lifting a pen or opening a water bottle a struggle, while balance issues, nausea and full body pain kept them in bed most of the time.

MPI discovered a fraudster was walking long distances and riding a motorcycle after claiming debilitating injuries in a phony accident claim. (Shutterstock)

MPI’s special investigation unit looked into the claim and witnessed the person walking long distances, including shopping for hours at several stores, lifting groceries and driving a motorcycle on multiple occasions.

At that point, MPI cancelled the person’s benefits, saving ratepayers more than $300,000.

Driving under the influence

Police responded to a single vehicle rollover and found three intoxicated people outside a seriously damaged truck with all the airbags deployed.

Nobody witnessed the crash, and police weren’t sure who was driving the vehicle, although they suspected one person more than the others because the truck was registered in the name of their spouse.

One person was arrested for intoxication, and released the next day without being charged. 

A claimant said they weren’t intoxicated at the time of a crash, though police had lodged them in jail overnight to sober up, MPI says. (CBC)

Days later, that same person opened a single vehicle collision claim with MPI, saying the vehicle rolled after hitting a rut. 

The person also claimed they were alone in the vehicle, and sober for 24 hours.

After receiving a sworn statement from the individual, the claim was referred to investigators who quickly learned that the police had been at the crash site and arrested the claimant for intoxication.

MPI denied the claim because of the false statement, saving ratepayers $62,000.

Social media scheme

A person told MPI they returned to their vehicle to find it damaged by a nearby semi truck, and the other driver had already reported the collision and accepted liability for the crash.

Investigators discovered the drivers knew each other and often interacted publicly on social media.

At that point, investigators searched the vehicle and found jugs of coolant and oil in the back seat of the damaged vehicle and, upon inspection, it was determined that the engine was severely damaged and had seized due to a lack of oil.

The claimant and the driver accused of hitting the claimant’s car admitted to staging the crash, MPI says. The pair had a history of communicating online. (Shutterstock)

The cost to repair the damage was expected to be $50,000.

The second driver admitted intentionally hitting the vehicle with a rented moving truck after being asked by the vehicle owner. The owner later admitted to staging the collision.

MPI denied the claim and saved more than $50,000.

Keyed up claim

A person told police their vehicle had been stolen from their workplace during an overnight shift, and said a second set of keys had been misplaced. That same person told MPI they were in possession of both sets of keys at the time of the alleged theft.

The vehicle was recovered, towed to MPI and inspected by technicians who found an immobilizer, which keeps a vehicle from being hot-wired and stolen by someone who doesn’t have the programmed key to start the engine, was functioning well. Investigators also found the ignition had not been manipulated or damaged.

MPI denied the claim because the customer had both sets of keys, despite the conflicting reports. That saved ratepayers $38,000.

A claimant who said his truck had been stolen and burned had filled a plastic detergent pod container with gas earlier that day, MPI and police discovered. A similar detergent container was seen near the burned-out vehicle. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Detergent determines denial

A person told police and MPI that their vehicle had been stolen from their home and destroyed by fire.

Investigators discovered a plastic container used to hold laundry detergent pods near the burned car.

Investigators from both police and MPI discovered the person had been spotted with the car earlier in the day at a gas station, filling a similar laundry container with gas.

After being presented with the evidence, the person admitted the fire was accidental and the vehicle had not been stolen.

MPI denied the claim based on a false statement, saving $24,400.


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