ICBC's most bizarre insurance scams of 2014
Weirdest claims involved airbagged evidence, travel blogging and a time travel conspiracy
ICBC has released a list of the most interesting scams detected by its investigators last year, including cases involving failed impersonation, airbag betrayal, and a time travelling conspiracy.
B.C.'s motor vehicle insurance agency estimates between 10 and 15 per cent of insurance claims involve some element of fraud or exaggeration.
As a result its two special investigation teams recommended 131 charges to Crown prosecutors against 100 people, with a conviction rate of 90 per cent.
Some of those cases were highlighted in a statement sent out by ICBC on Thursday morning.
1. Time travel conspiracy: One case involved a driver, with an expired licence, who rear-ended another car. Since she didn't have optional insurance to cover the damage to the vehicles, she asked the other driver to say the crash happened the next day. When he refused, she stopped off on the way home and bought the optional insurance before filing a claim. She was busted and had to pay $7,400 to repair both vehicles herself.
2. Airbagged evidence: Another driver, who was prohibited from driving at the time, claimed his vehicle was stolen just before it was involved in crash. But his DNA was found on the airbag in the car and he was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay for $18,000 in repair costs for the other vehicles.
3. Movie plot blaze: The owner of a truck claimed it was stolen while he was watching a movie. When it was later found destroyed by fire, investigators determined the vehicle had serious mechanical problems before the fire. They used cellphone records to prove the owner was actually at the site at the time of the fire. He was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay $3,000 for costs.
4. Hit-and-run victim turns suspect: The owner of a Honda Civic claimed his car was damaged in a hit-and-run while parked outside his home. But investigators thought the damage was strange and eventually matched paint chips from his vehicle with another hit-and-run. The driver admitted he had fled the scene of the real crash, and he was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay back $5,600 in claims.
5. Busted for blogging: A woman claimed she had suffered long-term injuries in a crash, leaving her with severe neck pain and headaches. But the investigator discovered her blog documenting a six-month motorcycle trip across some of the rougher roads in South America. At trial the judge awarded her just $12,000, two-thirds less than she was asking for her injuries.
6. Persistent pretender: A driver who was stopped by police talking on a cellphone, turned out to be driving with 90-day prohibition issued just two days before. He was charged and received a one-year driving ban. Undeterred, he got an interim driver's licence in his friend's name, and then transferred his vehicle to his friend's name. But ICBC used facial recognition software to catch the impersonator and he was charged under the Criminal Code and fined $2875.
ICBC says anyone can report a fraud anonymously to its tips line at 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844.