Car insurance fraud is costing British Columbians as much as $600 million each year and every driver in the province is paying more than $100 per year on their insurance policy as the result, according to ICBC.
“We don’t think it is fair to pass those costs on to our customers,” says Chris Fairbridge with ICBC. “Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. It costs everybody. We want fraudsters to know we are not going to tolerate that.”
ICBC says insurance industry estimates indicate 10 to 20 per cent of auto insurance claims contain an element of fraud or exaggeration.
The most common types of insurance fraud include false claims, exaggerated claims and organized fraud.
ICBC says an example of a false claim is when an owner fabricates a story about their vehicle being stolen when it was actually disposed of by the owner.
An exaggerated claim is when a driver or passenger embellishes a claim by overstating their injuries or the damage to their vehicle and organized fraud is planned events such as staged collisions and jump-in schemes.
Last year, there were 7,500 fraud investigations, which included almost 5,000 claims investigations, resulting in approximately 550 fraud convictions from 2010 to 2015.
In addition to convictions, fraudsters face other penalties, including a complete denial of their claim, asset seizure and denial of optional insurance coverage.
Suspicious activities related to insurance fraud can be reported to ICBC’s toll-free tips line at 1-800-661-6844. ICBC says callers can remain anonymous.