It is important for residents of Alberta to understand and be aware of insurance fraud, as it costs policy owners millions of dollars each year in higher premiums. Anyone can be a target of insurance crime, whether you are just learning to drive or are highly experienced at driving. Knowing about insurance crime is the first step to preventing it. Reporting insurance crime is the next part of helping to stop abuse of the insurance system.
Below are ways to reduce your risks and avoid insurance fraud in Alberta:
It is important to avoid insurance fraud by driving defensively, including leaving plenty of distance in front of you. Looking ahead and always being aware of where any hazards and other vehicles are located around you. Adjust your speed to the weather, road and traffic conditions. Use caution in accepting the right of way. Always be prepared to take evasive action to avoid a last minute accident.
Be Aware of Suspicious Activities After a Minor Collision
If you are involved in a relatively minor automobile collision, it is important to be mindful of common elements that could be part of insurance fraud. Be suspicious if the following behaviours are observed:
- The driver insists on calling police, even though clearly the total vehicle damage is less than $2,000;
- The driver and/or passengers insist on calling an emergency workers and complain about neck and back injuries (especially when emergency workers show up);
- The driver who hit you recommends a tow truck company, vehicle repair shop, medical treatment provider or a legal service provider
- The other driver’s auto insurance was recently issued;
- The other driver gives an inaccurate account of what happened to the police;
- “Witnesses” suddenly appear when the collision occurred in an isolated area; or
- A tow truck driver arrives at the scene, recommends his or her services, and may suggest a particular repair shop.
Be aware of what your auto insurance policy entails in Edmonton and stay involved in your claim. Never provide signed blank forms to your medical service provider.
Taking thorough photographs of the vehicles involved and any damage sustained from the accident is the best way to prove or dispel claims about the incident. This same guideline is relevant for before and after repairs. An innocent person involved in car accident should note any damage that seems unrelated, as well as whether or not the airbags went off, and any potential witnesses.
Be Aware of the Possible Types of Auto Insurance Fraud
A key information source for the public about insurance fraud is the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). Established in 1964, the IBC is the national industry association in Canada that represents private auto, home and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90 percent of the Canadian property and casualty insurance market.
One of the ways in which the IBC has raised awareness about insurance crime is in an article, which outlines opportunistic fraud scenarios and pre-meditated insurance fraud.
Reporting Insurance Fraud
If you believe that you are a victim of insurance fraud, you should report the incident immediately. You or another person, as a witness, may:
- File a police report or a Crime Stoppers report;
- Complete an anonymous online form with IBC;
- Make an anonymous phone call 24/7 to the IBC at 1-877-IBC-TIPS (422-8477);
- Contact an information officer at IBC; and
- Report the fraud to your insurer or a lawyer.
Other Means to Reduce Insurance Crime
In addition to educating the public about insurance fraud, the IBC aims to deter fraud by thoroughly investigating the involvement of organized crime groups in insurance fraud. IBC works with Edmonton insurance companies, police, the government and the public in a joint effort towards reducing insurance fraud.
CANATICS, a non-profit agency, also helps reduce auto insurance crime by collecting data and investigating insurance claims that are deemed suspicious.
Further, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is a government resource that can help to educate people about various types of fraud types and any preventative measures that can be taken.
Legislative measures from the Alberta government are also in place to try and reduce the volume of personal injury auto insurance fraud cases. The 2016 soft tissue (minor injury) cap for a personal injury claim is $4,956. The cap was $4,000 when it was first introduced in 2004. Before 2004 a less severe injury that last three to six months was worth between $5,000 and $15,000 for the pain and suffering involved. A further review of the minor injury cap is currently underway, but, until it is released, the minor injury cap remains indexed to inflation.
Speak to Our Auto Insurance Brokers in Edmonton for Safe, Reliable Rates
At MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd., we believe that people can work together to stop insurance fraud if they know how to prevent and report it when it is suspected. We want you to have access to affordable insurance without compromising the quality of your coverage. Auto insurance in Edmonton should be accessible for everyone in the same way homeowners insurance can be.
To learn more about insurance fraud and to get a competitive quote from our brokers in Edmonton, contact us today online or at 780-436-7880.