Top Five Frauds of 2014 announced by Manitoba Public Insurance

Manitoba Public Insurance released its annual list of Top Five Frauds today, highlighted by a man who burned and destroyed his vehicle for no reason other than being “really mad”. This past year’s list also featured a vehicle theft that really wasn’t a theft and the intriguing claim for imaginary hail damage.

Fraudulent and suspicious claims are handled by Manitoba Public Insurance’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU). The efforts of this special unit resulted in fraud savings last year of $7.5 million for Manitoba auto insurance rate payers. The SIU will investigate about 3,000 claims yearly. Anyone knowing someone who is involved in 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.

No. 1:‘Mad at the World’

It was the temper tantrum to rival all temper tantrums. After completely losing control of his emotions, a Winnipeg man was left with a criminal record, $2,000 fine, permanent scars and a completely destroyed vehicle worth $40,000.

The man admitted he was “just mad at the world” when explaining why he destroyed his new pickup truck. With his temper burning red, the man consumed nearly 20 beers at a party with co-workers, who later drove the man home.

Upon returning home, the man was still fuming at the world and in front of his co-workers, poured a large amount of gasoline onto the front seat of his new truck. After waiting a few minutes, he then tossed in a match.

The deadly mixture of gasoline and oxygen resulted in a fiery explosion, burning the man on his chest and arms. The investigation quickly led to the vehicle owner and his co-workers, who originally all lied to police about the incident. However, the co-workers eventually confessed the truth, and police contacted MPI investigators.

The vehicle owner was later convicted of arson causing damage to his own property.

No. 2:‘The Theft that Wasn’t’

Whether it was sheer nerve, or a complete memory lapse, a man boldly opened a theft claim with Manitoba Public Insurance, stating his vehicle had been stolen in broad daylight from his driveway.

During the course of the subsequent investigation, it was discovered that the vehicle had not been stolen ─ it had been repossessed by a finance company after months of non-payment.

The embarrassed vehicle owner claimed he was unaware of being in arrears. The claim, which would have cost $11,000, was denied.

No. 3:‘A Hail of a Tall Tale’

Thanks to the keen eyes and expertise of an MPI estimator, a vehicle owner’s attempt to defraud the Corporation of nearly $10,000 (value of claim) was unsuccessful. The fraud began after the man opened a hail claim days after a hail storm swept through his community.

During a visual inspection of the badly damaged vehicle, it was quickly determined by the estimator that about half of the dents were not consistent with hail, but were manmade. A technician with MPI’s Research and Training Department, using industry approved techniques, would also confirm the damage was not caused by hail.

The man agreed to withdraw his claim after being told of the results of the fraudulent hail investigation.

No. 4:‘No work…..all fun’

A Winnipeg driver was fined $1,000 and agreed to repay $12,000 back to Manitoba Public Insurance after pleading guilty to Making a False Statement. All the result of an anonymous call to MPI’s TIPS Line.

The man was involved in a minor, single-vehicle collision ─ he told police at the scene that he was uninjured. However, only a few days later he opened an injury claim with Manitoba Public Insurance. He told his Manitoba Public Insurance case manager that he had regular bouts of dizziness, trouble walking and limited physical abilities. He was also seeing several doctors.

Soon after the crash he began receiving income replacement cheques from the Corporation.

A call to the Manitoba Public Insurance TIPS Line about the man resulted in the SIU opening an investigation, which quickly revealed the man was doing a variety of activities ─ snowmobiling, running, shovelling snow and working in his garage refurbishing a trailer. Based on this information the man was subsequently criminally charged.

No. 5:‘Sins of the son’

A Winnipeg man, who was driving his father’s vehicle, claimed he was doing the speed limit when he inexplicably lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a light standard.

Damage to the vehicle was nearly $20,000, in addition to costs associated with a destroyed city of Winnipeg light standard. During MPI’s investigation, it was learned that the driver was racing another vehicle at extremely high speeds, which ultimately caused the vehicle to crash.

After hearing the real facts, the father decided to withdraw the claim, while the son signed a Promissory Note to the City of Winnipeg for the damage to the light standard.

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