Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Jan. 22, 2013)

Biggest Source Of Crime In Ontario

By Evelyn Morris


January 2013 is Crime Stoppers Month in Ontario, Canada and itís been revealed that the largest source of crime in the country isnít perhaps what many people would expect. Many would assume that the main causes of concern are incidences of assault, murder, rape or burglary, but they would be wrong. The fastest growing problem in Canada is actually insurance fraud and this month a joint campaign between Crime Stoppers and the Insurance Bureau of Canada is set to try and highlight this issue further and make not only the public, but the police more aware of it too.   

According to KPMG, in Ontario alone, auto and motorbike insurance fraud annually costs in excess of $1.6 billion and the net result of this is higher premiums for the people who are innocent of any wrongdoing. In percentage terms this relates to around 9-18% of the total insurance premiums.

In particular it seems that the insurance companies in Ontario have been hit the hardest, with some of the highest rates of false claims for staged accidents, collisions and breakdowns alongside the abuse and misuse of the benefits of the insurance policies taken out. There are also an increasing number of intentionally wrongly filed claims for injuries such as whiplash are regularly made too. 

The results of the KPMG report also found that whilst there were indications of possible episodes of organized group insurance fraud, there were also many singular incidents of it too and it was impossible to measure which was most prevalent on the basis of the research that had been carried out thus far.

Unfortunately, because of the high rates of frauds and crimes being committed on insurance policies, it has ended up having a detrimental effect on genuine claimants who then are forced to wait much longer for their claims to be processed, because everyone has to go through a much more rigorous and tough system, designed to try and root out the criminals.

Back in 2011 the Ontario Government introduced an anti-fraud task force that was designed to investigate how far reaching the problems were with this type of crime. The results would determine how they would go about tackling the problem now and for future generations.

The company Pollara Inc. were asked by the Insurance Bureau of Canada to undertake a survey of around one thousand individuals to ask for their opinions and perceptions of insurance, insurance fraud and other insurance industry related happenings.

Of those people surveyed, as high a number as 83% believed that insurance related crimes and frauds occur regularly within the province of Ontario and that only 14% thought that it didnít or that they were not aware of it. A staggering 96% of all those surveyed recognised that the higher insurance premiums they were forced to pay were as a direct result of an increase in insurance fraud.

Other interesting figures from the survey are that 53% of people thought that there were a high number of people deliberately staging accidents or collisions so that they could make a claim on the insurance, with 60% of respondents also believing that there were a high number of people making claims for accidents or collisions that simply didnít occur in the first place. 59% of people also felt that there may be people out there staging collisions with other fraudsters in an attempt to make multiple claims for damage to vehicles and injuries to the persons on board.

The advice is that if you suspect or know of anyone who has done or is committing fraud relating to their car, van, lorry, motorbike or moped insurance to ring the fraud hotline number which is 1-800-222-TIPS and report it immediately. Alternatively it can be done totally anonymously on the TIPSOFT insurance fraud website.

Alongside this, there is an anonymous phone line which can be called on 1-877-IBCTIPS to report any suspicious or irregular behaviour. The more people that take part and report the crimes, the better chance there is of stamping them out once and for all.

Anyone that does call or submit information relating to this can be sure that the Police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada will be working together to act on the reports and make every effort to try and stamp out these crimes which have become surprisingly endemic across Ontario.



Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2012