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Ratepayers Saved $2M in 2009 from Fraudulent Fire Claims

June 29, 2010 1:46 PM | News

By Tyler Sutherland

Vehicle ratepayers in Manitoba saved over $2,000,000 in 2009 as the result of successful fire investigations, Manitoba Public Insurance said Tuesday.

MPI’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) found many of the 250 vehicle fire claims to be the result of arson, or faulty mechanical repairs.

“Our fire investigators can determine if a fire was the result of arson,” said Tim Arnason, director of SIU. “Where evidence proves owner involvement, the claim would be denied based on the conclusive findings. In other cases where causation of fires is attributed to faulty mechanical repairs, the corporation will seek recovery from the person or business responsible.”

Three investigators are dedicated full-time to vehicle fire investigations, and are all comprised of former members of the Winnipeg Police Service.

“Vehicles typically don’t go up in flames,” explained Arnason. “When a fire claim is opened our SIU staff will attempt to determine both causation and origin. Many fire claims are confirmed not to be the fault of the vehicle owner, but a mechanical issue.”

MPI’s SIU investigated about 2,750 claims last year, resulting in savings of nearly $9.3 million for the public auto insurer and its ratepayers.