VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – While ICBC explores an appeal of a judgement awarding a woman nearly $400,000 dollars for malicious fraud prosecution, an insurance industry group is explaining how difficult it has become to catch the real criminals. An insurance industry group on why it’s getting harder to separate the innocent customers from the criminals.
A BC Supreme Court judge blasted ICBC in her ruling for what she found to be overzealous prosecution in Danica Arsenovski’s case. She and her husband had recently come to Canada as refugees. There were hit by a car while crossing a Burnaby intersection in January 2000. Arsenovski was charged with fraud for making a false statement about the crash, but that was later dropped. The judge found the investigator in the case wrote a misleading report recommending the charge. ICBC says that investigator left the insurer long ago.
In a statement, ICBC claims fraud costs each of their policy holders about $100 dollars per year. That’s $600-million per year, much more than this judgement awards.
While she can’t comment specifically about this case, Kathy Metzger with the Insurance Bureau of Canada says fraud investigations are extremely complex and it’s conceivable an innocent person can get caught up. “Most of the claims the insurance industry looks at are valid claims. There are some though and when fraud indicators appear on claims it’s our responsibility to look at them closer.”
Metzger says fraud investigations are only getting more difficult. “Every time we do something to stop a fraud, whether it’s deny a claim or have it prosecuted or anything like that, we’re teaching the bad guys what not to do the next time. So their schemes have become more sophisticated as we move along.”
ICBC has recently been focusing on fraud prevention as a way to avoid rate increases.