Increase in auto-insurance fraud charges in 2020: Manitoba Public Insurance

Auto-insurance fraud charges in 2020 increased 44 per cent compared to the year previous, Manitoba Public Insurance announced today.

As of the end of December 2020, a total of 130 charges against 49 people have been laid, compared to 90 charges against 34 people in 2019.

“This increase should not be interpreted as more fraud taking place in our province. The increase reflects MPI’s commitment to reviewing suspicious claims,” explained Curtis Wennberg, vice-president, Customer Service and COO.

“Auto insurance fraud affects honest customers through their premiums and MPI is committed to ensuring people receive the benefits they are entitled to and prevent fraud. MPI remains totally focused on reviewing suspicious cases.

“Following extensive investigations, these files were forwarded to the provincial prosecution office for review. These charges fall within either the Criminal Code, the MPIC Act or Highway Traffic Act. A conviction of any nature is a very serious consequence of auto insurance fraud.”

Charges laid can vary from Making False Statement, Fraud Over $5,000, Fraud Under $5,000. Individuals found guilty in the courts could face a financial fine, criminal charges or/and restitution orders to pay back MPI.

Suspicious claims are handled by MPI’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU). The efforts of this special unit resulted in claims savings last year of more than $10 million for MPI rate payers. The SIU closed more than 1,200 investigations in 2019. In addition to the TIPS Line, Manitoba Public Insurance receives information about possible fraudsters from employees, police agencies, or Manitoba Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information about auto insurance fraud is encouraged to call the Manitoba Public Insurance TIPS Line: 204-985-8477 or toll-free 1-877-985-8477. All calls are anonymous.

Insurance fraud – automobile, home or health care – costs Canadians more than $3 billion a year in premiums, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

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