Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Combatting Car Insurance Fraud

I get a lot of pitches from companies wanting me to write about their products, which I mostly ignore, but Alexey Saltykov at InsurEYE sent me something interesting. It’s a graphic that explains the 3 most common ways that fraudsters might try to involve you in a car accident (see below or click here). (Disclosure: I have no business or financial connection to InsurEYE.)

My first question after looking at these fraud scenarios is what can I do about this? If done well, it would be almost impossible for the victim to avoid the collision, and then it would be almost impossible to convince an investigating police officer that the collision was a fraud rather than poor driving by the victim.

Alexey’s answer to this question is that he uses a dash cam:


Here is a link to a supposed case of a fraudulent collision. The collision seems so minor that it’s hard to tell if this is real or staged, but I get the idea. I’m not likely to buy a dash cam any time soon, but I can see that it would be almost impossible to prove fraud without one.

6 comments:

  1. That's scary stuff. I'm not opposed to getting a dash cam, but then I'd be worried about someone breaking in to get the camera. :)

    I've always thought it was unsafe for people to "let other people in", with this kind of stuff going on, you are better off just waiting for a proper break in traffic.

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  2. For some time now I was interested to know if such camera is accepted as a means of proof in insurance investigation, but not from people who sells them :)

    As to staged situations, my 2 cents are:
    1: victim's collision with rear car is less likely than with the front one. In any case, insurance investigation rules state: "rear car is at fault"
    2: Same rules state: collision at parking is a 50/50 fault regardless, even if one car did not move.
    3: this can work with no traffic lights

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  3. breaking in for the camera is THE threat the stops me from installing it.

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  4. @Mike: Hiding and remounting the camera would help prevent theft, but would be so annoying that I wouldn't do that either.

    @AnatoliN: There are a number of guidelines used to determine fault in various accident scenarios. These guidelines are not laws. They carry the day in most cases, but if a dispute goes to court, all evidence is considered. I'm pretty confident that a video of an incident would carry a lot of weight.

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  5. @Mike: Hi Mark, that was a photo of my camera there. :-)

    Actually, if the screen is closed, the camera looks more like a big remote for a garage door... I do no take it down usually, but it has an easy clip to do so...

    It was actually not easy to get the camera, I only could order it via ebay since these were not available in Canada. These are often used both in Russia and China where accident fraud rate on the roads is much higher...

    @AnatoliN:
    I actually called my insurance company and they said that they are not sure how they would handle this case. But hey also said they said, that it is likely that police might change the decision on who was at fault based on this evidence and thus the victim will be "clean" from the insurance perspective.

    In addition to that, having such a cam would often stop the fraudsters from going ahead and accusing you from being at fault (like in he video in this article).

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  6. As a consumer, I get quite angry about hearing or reading stories about car insurance fraud. After reading articles and blog posts like this one and many others, its not hard to see that these serious cases of fraud harm everyone. Safety compromises and the cost of my car insurance going up…. All quite upsetting. Why don’t regulators be more heavy handed? Seems like Ontario is… http://www.thinkinsure.ca/car-auto-insurance-news/Ontario-Auto-Insurance-Anti-Fraud-Task-Force-Final-Report-Shows-Teeth.html

    Thx,
    Jon.

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