ICBC releases pair of videos to raise awareness about insurance fraud
Imagine this: a bus is travelling in rush hour and is cut off by another vehicle. The bus driver responds and rear-ends the car in front.
As the bus pulls over, at least 20 passengers get off the bus. Soon after, ICBC receives an injury claim from just one of the passengers, someone the public insurer is calling Jane Doe.
The Jane Doe tells insurance adjusters that her injuries affected her sleeping and the pain was increasing. She also claimed that she lost her part-time job as a fitness instructor.
“She had provided us receipts for physiotherapy and in good faith we reimbursed her those amounts,” ICBC spokesperson Joanna Linsangan said.
But there was something that stood out to adjusters about the case. They investigated and found CCTV video footage from the bus, which showed the woman disembarking with no signs of pain.
Then the adjuster went online and found pictures of her exercising and travelling. Further digging led to more signs she may have filed a false claim.
“This individual had actually ran and completed a half marathon 14 hours after the crash,” Linsangan said.
“What stood out is she did it in less than two hours. That’s 20 minutes faster than the average time.”
WATCH (Aired December 10, 2018): This is what ICBC fraud looks like: Video released of B.C. man faking traffic injury
ICBC says it tried to work with the woman without the courts, but she hired a lawyer. In the end, Crown charged her under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act for providing false information.
She was ordered to pay back all that was paid her for her medical appointments, to the tune of almost $8,000, plus a $2,250 fine, and a victim’s surcharge of $337.50.
That example is just one that ICBC is releasing in the hopes of educating the public about insurance fraud.
“The vast majority of our customers are honest,” Linsangan said. “When we see this happen we try to do our best to minimize it.”
It is hard for ICBC to measure exactly how much fraud is committed every year, but the public insurer says the best guess is it costs the company more than $600 million annually.
The cost of that fraud is then passed onto customers, and is one of the factors of rapidly increasing rates, according to ICBC.
The insurer also provided Global News video of a crash in Delta, obtained through dashcam video from the driver who submitted the claim.
The driver claimed that he had been a victim of a hit-and-run, where his vehicle was sideswiped and the offending driver fled the scene. Upon inspecting the vehicle, ICBC concluded the damages didn’t match his claim of being sideswiped.
Through review the dashcam footage, it became clear the driver had actually rear-ended a vehicle and fled the scene.
The male driver pleaded guilty in November 2018 to a charge of providing false information. He was ordered to pay $3,588 in restitution, a fine of $2,500, and a victim’s surcharge of $375.
ICBC is hoping the videos sends the message that fraudsters will be caught using everything at the insurer’s disposal.