When the economy takes a dive or unemployment is high, the incidence of insurance fraud tends to increase as well. It’s not just greed that compels policy holders to commit insurance fraud, it is also desperation. And that is not limited to disability insurance fraud or slip and fall accidents.
For example, International Investigators, Inc. insurance fraud investigators had a case where a car had caught fire and burned. It was a total loss. Because of a recent change to the policy coverage, a red flag went up to the adjuster and that’s why our investigator was called in.
After investigating the claimant, it was uncovered that he had recently lost his job and had taken a lower-paying position with another company. Not too long after that happened, he had taken the family’s only car into a repair shop. A few repairs had been made, but the transmission was in need of replacement and he had told the mechanic and shop owner that he just couldn’t afford to fix the transmission. He asked that they do the least possible to keep the car running for the time being.
He also asked whether the condition of the vehicle was dangerous or if it could cause a fire - and how and where such a fire would start.
When the report from the fire and arson authorities was received, even more doubts and suspicions were raised for the adjuster, especially in light of what we had shared in an update. Our investigation was halted after a few days because the claimant confessed to setting fire to his vehicle. The claim was denied.
Sometimes this type of insurance fraud is confused with product liability cases. In this case, the claimant was not claiming a product or part in the car was defective, just that it had caught fire and burned out completely.
Insurance fraud can range from lying about contents of a stolen purse or items stolen from a home or car to causing damage to a home or vehicle to make a claim. Insurance adjusters start with a search for serial claimants and touch base with their own Special Investigative Units if there are any red flags that pop up regarding a claim. When they decide that maybe there is more to the case than what meets the eye, they call in professional investigators like us at International Investigators. We aren’t there to prove anything one way or another. We are simply looking for facts – objective facts.
-T. Wilcox, CEO, International Investigators