This month is Fraud Prevention Month, and SGI, the Crown insurance company here in Saskatchewan, is raising awareness of insurance fraud. With nearly every vehicle on the road in the province insured through SGI and a number of people getting insurance for their homes through SGI Canada, it is something taken very seriously.

“Unfortunately, insurance fraud is a significant concern for every single insurance company,” explained Tyler McMurchy with SGI. “For the entire industry, it does cost millions of dollars a year and that’s one of the reasons why we have an SIU (Special Investigations Unit).”

The Special Investigations Unit of SGI looks into suspicious insurance claims. McMurchy pointed out investigating these claims is important for SGI customers, as when claim costs go up, more money has to be collected through insurance premiums to pay out on future claims.

Over the past year, the SIU is estimated to have saved $5.6 million dollars for SGI through the investigation of their claims.

One of the notable investigations over the past year by SGI was for a vehicle which had the keys reported stolen. The vehicle was also involved in an accident blocks from the home, damaging several parked vehicles.

The SIU investigator suspected the vehicle's owner was the one behind the wheel at the time and obtained a DNA sample from the deployed airbag. It was a match to the vehicle owner. The claim was denied, and the vehicle owner was held responsible for paying back $15,000 in damages SGI had originally paid out.

Another claim which was denied came after a vehicle was involved in a hit and run.

The owner of the vehicle claimed she was out of town at the time, and her vehicle must have been stolen.

An eyewitness and a surveillance video showed she was actually a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Her unlicensed friend was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. The claim was denied, resulting in SGI saving $60,000.

McMurchy added there is a lesson to be taken away from these examples. Insurance fraud can not only lead to denied coverage, and a hefty bill to fix damages to replace property, it could also result in criminal charges.

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