The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has said it supports fully Crime Stoppers Month and is urging the public to remain vigilant against auto insurance and other types of insurance fraud.
Insurance fraud is a major problem, especially in Ontario where it is rife and is thought to be a big contributor to the provinces excessively high auto insurance premiums. The IBC is reminding Canadians that insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, a common misconception. Instead it wastes law enforcement time and resources and hurts consumers as they are forced to pay higher premiums to cover the costs insurance providers’ payout to false claims.
"Fraud is a crime of deception," said Rick Dubin, Vice-President of Investigative Services at IBC. "When undetected, fraudulent claims are paid using the premiums of honest policyholders. Your best defense against insurance fraud is a good offence. Be educated and aware, as fraudsters can easily take advantage of unsuspecting consumers."
While insurance fraud happens all over Canada, it is epidemic in Ontario, the nations most populated provinces. Bill 15 was introduced in Ontario last year, making the processes for clamping down on fraud easier, such as placing stricter regulations on tow trucks and protecting consumers more from false insurance claims.
Major insurance providers are also tackling the issue and are placing dedicated fraud detection teams to find crime rings that are dedicated to auto insurance and other types of insurance fraud. It is something the IBC welcomes as the Bureau says that it has long been pushing for a better system to combat a problem that has seen the average auto insurance premium rise to more than $1,500 per year.
It is thought that cutting out auto insurance fraud entirely would shave more than $200 off the average premium, but even cutting down fraud would result in savings for consumers in the long term.
"Insurance crime is big business. When they cheat, we all pay," continued Dubin. "IBC and police services rely on help from the community to catch fraudsters. That is why we encourage people with information about insurance crime to call our anonymous TIPS Line at 1-877-IBC-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.”