Significant increase in auto-insurance fraud charges: Manitoba Public Insurance

Auto-insurance fraud charges in 2020 have nearly tripled from the year previous, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.

As of the end of July 2020, a total of 88 charges against 33 people have been laid, compared to 30 charges against 10 people in 2019.

“This increase is partially attributed to MPI’s refocused effort in reviewing suspicious cases,” explained Curtis Wennberg, vice-president, Customer Service and COO. “In addition, MPI has adopted a business change to emphasize that insurance fraud is a “crime” and pursue both a denial of coverage and charges going forward.

“Following extensive investigations, these files are 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.

“A criminal record can affect travelling across the border, employment or business opportunities,” said Wennberg. “Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime and this criminal activity affects honest Manitobans through their premiums.”

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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