ICBC turns to Facebook to root out bogus claims
ICBC’s top fraud claims include a man convicted of intentionally torching his own car. (ICBC)
Published Thursday, February 11, 2016 2:34PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, February 11, 2016 2:35PM PST
The Insurance Corporation of B.C. is turning to social media in its bid to shut down motorists filing fraudulent claims.
ICBC says it’s beefing up its Special Investigations Unit by heading online to root out potential exaggerations – or outright frauds.
The bureau opened 2,350 cyber cases last year, and case managers say they’ve been able to make busts just by trawling personal Facebook and Twitter profiles.
Some of last year’s biggest busts include people participating in high-impact sports and activities, despite claiming severe injuries and chronic pain.
Their 2015 “Hall of Shame” includes a woman who said she was too hurt to return to work as a hairdresser, but apparently felt well enough to go running, hiking and join a roller derby team. She even bragged about how many injuries she suffered as one of the “hardest hitters” on the team, says ICBC. She ended up agreeing to half of the compensation she was originally demanding.
In another case, a man claiming to be injured posted photos on Facebook showing him crossing the finish line of a grueling 12-mile obstacle race in Whistler. Investigators also found photos of him “taking down an opponent” at a mixed martial arts event.
After being confronted with the photos, the man told investigators he had a miraculous recovery from his injuries.
Status updates on social media have also been entered into evidence in recent court trials. After a woman involved in a minor MVA demanded $1-million for her injuries, ICBC says its investigators submitted social media posts that showed she had grossly overstated her claims. As a result, the judge denied her request – and demanded that she pay ICBC’s legal costs, totaling $34,000.
ICBC says 10 to 20 per cent of claims have an element of fraud or exaggeration, and result in increased premiums for every B.C. driver.
The agency claims fraudulent claims cost up to $600-million each year in the province.