WINNIPEG — Manitoba Public Insurance is seeing a surge in automobile insurance fraud — nearly triple from this time last year.
“This increase is partially attributed to MPI’s refocused effort in reviewing suspicious cases,” says Curtis Wennberg, vice-president, customer service and COO.
MPI says as of the end of July 2020, 88 charges against 33 people have been laid, compared to 30 charges against 10 people in 2019.
“In addition, MPI has adopted a business change to emphasize that insurance fraud is a “crime” and pursue both a denial of coverage and charges going forward.”
Wennberg says the files are forwarded to the provincial prosecution office for review after extensive investigations are completed.
Charges can vary from making a false statement, or fraud over/under $5,000.
“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime and this criminal activity affects honest Manitobans through their premiums,” he added.
Suspicious claims are handled by MPI’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU). Last year, efforts by the SIU resulted in cost savings to ratepayers of more than $10 million.
Anyone with information about auto insurance fraud is encouraged to call the Manitoba Public Insurance tips line at (204) 985-8477 or 1-877-985-8477. All calls are anonymous.