From staging a car crash, to exaggerating injuries, to lying for friends – Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) has announced its top five frauds of 2022.
According to the Crown corporation, its special investigations unit (SIU) works to investigate suspicious claims to ensure the correct claims are paid for the appropriate amounts.
In 2022, MPI closed nearly 3,000 investigations, resulting in claims savings of more than $14 million for its customers.
On Thursday, the Crown corporation released its top five frauds of the year, which include the following incidents:
1. A policyholder reported to police that their car was stolen from their home, and then signed a sworn statement to an MPI adjuster claiming that their vehicle was stolen and destroyed in a fire.
When the burned car was found, a plastic container used for laundry detergent pods was found nearby.
After police and the SIU investigated, reports surfaced that the claimant and this car had been spotted at a gas station earlier in the day, where the claimant was seen filling a similar container with gasoline.
When presented with this information, the claimant admitted the fire was an accident and the car was not stolen.
The claim was denied due to the false statement, saving MPI ratepayers about $24,400.
2. After a policyholder’s car was hit while another driver was attempting to change lanes, the person was deemed eligible to receive income replacement benefits and personal care assistance based on their injuries.
The person claimed their injuries involved a concussion, headache, dizziness, an ankle injury, and back, knee and neck pain. The person said their injuries were so bad that they couldn’t open a water bottle or lift a pen, and they could barely get out of bed. They also said they had limited mobility due to issues with balance, nausea and body pain.
During the investigation, surveillance showed this person was far more active than they claimed. This person was seen walking long distances, including shopping for hours at several stores, as well as lifting grocery bags and driving a motorcycle.
Following this investigation, the person was informed their benefits would be terminated. This saved ratepayers more than $300,000.
3. An insured individual reported to MPI that their car was damaged by a semi-truck. They also reported that the semi-truck driver had already reported the incident to MPI and accepted liability.
The SIU investigated and discovered that the two people involved in the crash knew each other and would often interact on social media. The damaged car was searched and jugs of coolant and oil were found in the back seat. A full inspection determined that the vehicle’s engine had seized due to lack of oil, and the repair cost for the mechanical issues were about $45,000.
When the SIU interviewed the other driver involved in the crash, they confirmed they intentionally hit the car with a rented moving truck after being asked for help by the owner. The owner also then admitted to staging the crash.
MPI saved ratepayers $50,000 by denying the claim.
4. Following a single-vehicle rollover, police found three intoxicated individuals outside a damaged truck with all the air bags deployed.
There were no witnesses to the rollover and police had no way to determine who was driving the insured vehicle. MPI noted that one individual provoked suspicion as the truck was registered in their spouse’s name.
One of the individuals was arrested for intoxication, held overnight, and released without charges. A few days later, this same person opened a single-vehicle collision claim with MPI, reporting that they hit a rut and lost control of the truck, causing the vehicle to roll. The person also claimed they were alone in the truck, and had not consumed any drugs or alcohol in the last 24 hours.
After MPI received a sworn statement, the claim was referred to the SIU, who learned police had been at the scene.
The claim was denied due to the false statement, saving ratepayers about $62,000.
5. A person opened a theft claim with MPI, reporting their SUV was stolen from their place of work during an overnight shift. While talking to police, the person said they were in possession of one set of keys as they misplaced the only other set. However, when this person filed a claim with MPI, they said they had both sets of keys at the time of the alleged theft.
The SUV was found and towed to the MPI compound, where technicians examined it. The examination determined that the installed immobilizer was operational and functional, and that a programmed key was the only way to start the car. The investigation also found the ignition was not manipulated or damaged.
Despite the initial conflicting reports, MPI determined that the customer was in possession of both sets of keys and the claim was denied, saving ratepayers more than $38,000.
MPI asks anyone with information about auto insurance fraud to call the tip line at 204-985-8477 in Winnipeg, or toll free at 1-877-985-8477 outside of Winnipeg. They can also submit information online.