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This article was published 28/12/2018 (520 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba Public Insurance’s fraud squad put the brakes on 1,600 bogus cases, saving ratepayers more than $10 million this year, the Crown corporation said.
The number is up from $6.2 million last year due to special investigations unit improvements, spokesman Brian Smiley said, adding 2018 is the first year MPI has been able to estimate that auto insurance fraud costs each ratepayer $50 annually.
To highlight the work of its investigators, MPI on Thursday released a list of the top five frauds of 2018, which were chosen for financial savings and unusual circumstances involved in the claims.
1: Superheroes might deserve partial credit for exposing one woman’s fraud.
The 25-year-old woman, who was receiving income replacement payments after a collision, was seen walking around the Winnipeg convention centre for six hours at Central Canada Comic Con, after claiming she was unable to walk more than 15 minutes without getting dizzy and unable to drive for long periods.
Upon receiving more evidence, she was ordered to repay $34,000 to MPI for benefits she had received.
2: Witnesses of a hit-and-run and arson
A woman told MPI her vehicle had been stolen while it was being used by her 22-year-old son. The man had reported the keys were stolen during a house party.
However, the man was seen deliberately setting the vehicle on fire at 7 a.m. in a rural Manitoba ditch.
The previous evening, a neighbour woke up after a loud crash and went outside. The neighbour found the intoxicated man, who then drove off in a Dodge Nitro — which was later found burned.
After witnesses confirmed the identity of the driver, the claim was denied. It saved ratepayers $57,000, MPI said.
3: Missing brother, missing breakfast
A woman reported that her vehicle, which had been badly damaged, was stolen from her son while he was at breakfast in downtown Winnipeg with his brother. The 45-year-old man claimed someone took the keys from his sweater pocket, which was left at the table while he went to the bathroom and his brother went to play VLTs.
MPI found that not only had the man not seen his brother in nine months, but the restaurant hasn’t served breakfast in years.
MPI recovered the $22,800 it originally paid out.
4: Stole his own vehicle?
A young man claimed his vehicle was stolen from a parking lot while he and his girlfriend were at a Christmas party. His Dodge Journey was found — badly damaged after crashing into a tree — not far from the 22-year-old man’s residence.
Investigators were suspicious after learning the couple made it home after the party, but the man, appearing agitated and highly intoxicated, drove away a short time later.
MPI confronted the man, who withdrew his claim, saving ratepayers $22,600.
5: Vehicle records the driver's weight
A man claimed to be responsible for badly damaging his 2014 Nissan Titan after crashing into a ditch in rural Manitoba. However, an anonymous tip led investigators to believe the man’s wife, who was heavily intoxicated at the time of the crash, was driving.
The vehicle owner withdrew his nearly $40,000 claim after MPI investigators told him they could confirm the weight of the driver when they download data from the vehicle’s on-board crash data recorder.
Anyone with information about 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.
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Updated on Friday, December 28, 2018 at 12:46 PM CST: Corrects name, adds headings.