It’s a case of attempted fraud that ICBC wants you to see.
In October 2017, ICBC received a call from a man saying he had fractured his foot after being pinned under a vehicle for 10 to 20 seconds in a Lower Mainland parking lot.
Turns out, after ICBC received security footage of the incident, the man can be seen falling to the ground after a collision occurs and not pinned under the vehicle at all. A car can be seen rolling backward in the parking lot and striking another car that was driving forward.
Joanna Linsangan, a spokesperson for ICBC, said this man also provided them a witness’ name and phone number but the security footage, found by a security guard, told a different story.
“If the security guard had not gone back to look at the footage, to contact that driver, to share the video, then we would not have had this information,” Linsangan said. “If you see something, say something, because your voice could be what we need to make sure a fraudster doesn’t get paid out.”
Linsangan said last year, ICBC opened 16,000 claims that were flagged as potentially fraudulent claims and about 54 per cent of them had some element of fraud.
This can include things like vehicle damage claims, injury claim or licensing fraud. Linsangan said an estimated 4,500 last year actually involved injury fraud.
“It happens enough that ICBC has found a need to increase the number of staff to look at these types of claims,” she added. “So we were at 60 and now we have 126 staff specifically looking at claims and other types of fraud that are happening within our company.”
“Looking at the number of claims that we had last year and how much we paid out, just for injury claims alone, ICBC paid out $3 billion in claims so when we think about fraudulent claims going through the system, they have the potential to inflate those costs even more, so that affects everybody, all drivers and that affects your premiums too.”
“So when you see footage like this, this should make people’s blood boil because this affects everyone and we are all paying for it.”
In this case, the man’s witnesses never gave any relevant information and the second time ICBC contacted the man, he did not say anything further and abandoned his claim.
However, if that had not happened, Linsangan said this person could have faced fines, jail time, or even a charge on their record.
“Even without the video, it did have a few markings of a typical fraudulent case,” she said. “For example, he told us that he had fractured his foot, well, ICBC didn’t receive any invoices from MSP saying that he had visited his doctor and at the same time, the witness that was given to us didn’t provide us with any information so that wasn’t a very credible witness as well.”
“There are two different types of fraud,” she said. “We have hard fraud, which is like organized crime, staged crashes, and then there’s what we call soft, opportunistic fraud and that’s more prevalent these days and something we see on a daily basis.
“So soft fraud could be defined as someone just taking the opportunity to gain the system, whether that’s you getting into a crash, feeling a little bit better, but still claiming that you’re not well enough to go back to work, or for example, you’re in a crash or you’re a passenger in a vehicle and you claim some type of injury when you weren’t injured.”
“And there’s also this scenario where you’re walking by, you see a crash happen and you literally throw yourself under the vehicle to see if you can get paid out but it’s frustrating, it’s frustrating to everybody.”
Linsangan recommends to protect yourself if you are involved in an incident or crash and collect as much information as possible as soon as possible. Take photos of the damaged area. See if there are any witnesses. Take copious notes with lots of information even if you think the crash was minor, she said.
“Fraud is still a very real issue that’s happening every single day.”
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