More on the Real Consequences of Insurance Fraud
Last month I wrote about why I hate insurance fraud. A quick look at comments following stories of personal injury claims in the news provides insight into the harsh judgments personal injury claimants face by some members of the public.
Although the cynicism and doubt cast on legitimate claims is the most unfortunate consequence of insurance fraud , there are more well recognized effects of fraud and these are the costs to the public at large. Fortunately the civil consequences for being caught in a fraudulent scheme can be high and this was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released last month by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry.
In last month’s case (ICBC v. Wiese) the Defendant was insured with ICBC. Between 1997 and 2005 ICBC alleged that “there were an ongoing series of fraudulent acts and representations by Mr. Wiese to ICBC, both directly asserting certain facts to be true regarding his residence and also providing statements and other updated information though which that pretence was maintained” Over the years the Defendant was apparently involved in “14 separate accidents involving seven different vehicles…resulting in payments out from ICBC of $102,855.48“.
ICBC sued for damages and succeeded. Mr. Justice Schultes awarded ICBC not only the cost of the claims paid out but a further $70,000 in punitive damages to punish the defendant for his repetitive “fraud on the public“.
If you ask a Plaintiff who has unfairly had their credibility called into question by an insurance defence lawyer they will tell you that insurance fraud causes harm to others beyond insurers. Cases such as the above serve as a stark and welcome reminder that the cost and consequences of insurance fraud are high.