WINNIPEG — Investigators with Manitoba Public Insurance were busy this year looking into potentially fraudulent auto insurance claims.
The Crown corporation’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is summoned whenever a claim appears to have inconsistencies or a member of the public calls in a tip.
“MPI releases its annual top five fraud list to raise awareness about the costs related to auto insurance fraud — about $50 per customer yearly,” said Curtis Wennberg, MPI’s chief operating officer.
“The list is compiled based on the unique circumstances of each fraud, financial savings to MPI ratepayer, and investigative excellence in unearthing the fraudsters.”
The top fraud of the year came after a Winnipeg man suffered serious injuries as the result of a motor vehicle collision. MPI began paying him $3,600 in monthly income replacement payments, but his case manager soon had trouble locating him and communicating with the man.
A lengthy letter was sent by the man to the case manager, explaining he was feeling emotionally distressed and needed a “mental break and holiday.” He further stated that he would be out of touch for several months as he would be staying at a remote cottage in northern Saskatchewan.
An investigation was launched and discovered that the man was actually incarcerated in federal prison, automatically making him ineligible to receive any payments from MPI.
The man’s benefits were terminated resulting in an estimated savings of nearly $200,000.
The four additional “top frauds” of 2019 can be found on MPI’s website.