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New industry anti-fraud group gets its first CEO
Terri O’Brien, a former vice president at TD Bank, is now CEO of Équité Association, the anti-fraud organization announced Monday.
Équité Association is a new organization that integrates Canadian National Insurance Crime Services (CANATICS) and the IBC’s investigative services division. Chaired by Aviva Canada CEO Jason Storah, Équité Association is an industry-wide organization that intends to address insurance fraud by using analytics and coordinating investigations.
O’Brien was previously chief risk officer at Pace Credit Union. O’Brien’s other previous roles include chief risk officer at Interac Corp. and vice president for TD Bank’s North American anti-fraud strategy.
It was February 2020 when IBC announced its intent to transition IBC’s investigative service division and CANATICS into an industry-wide anti-fraud service provider. At the time, the Équité Association name had yet to be announced. At that time, IBC said an industry advisory group would “lead the development of a strategy to ensure a smooth transition of anti-fraud services to a single entity.”
Three men are facing a slew of charges following a two-month investigation by Hamilton police into stolen vehicles.
Back in May, police launched an investigation dubbed Project El Dorado into an organized auto theft and chop shop ring.
Members of the Hamilton Police BEAR Unit, Emergency Response Unit, Niagara Regional Police Emergency Response Unit along with the Insurance Bureau of Canada executed six search warrants at five different locations in Hamilton and Niagara Region.
Police say 20 stolen vehicles, numerous vehicle parts, a firearm, and other suspected items were seized.
The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has seen an increase in relay and reprograming thefts of high-end vehicles with keyless entry and push-start technology. Since January 2021, there have been a total of 124 vehicles stolen in Oakville. Of those 124 thefts, 66 have been attributed to the use of relay or reprogramming technology. In most cases, the vehicles are being stolen from residents’ driveways during the overnight hours, with a theft typically taking less than one minute.
What is a relay theft?
Thieves will use technology called a “relay device” to find a key fob signal from inside a residence. The thieves do not need to enter the residence in order to find the signal. The signal is then amplified which allows the thieves to unlock, start and steal the vehicle. The vehicle owner discovers their vehicle has been stolen, even though they are in possession of their key fob.
What is a reprogramming theft?
Thieves will first gain entry to the vehicle by mechanical means (breaking in by using a tool). They will then access the vehicle’s diagnostic port and reprogram a blank key fob which allows them to start and steal the vehicle.
The HRPS is applying significant resources to investigate these occurrences. In spite of recent arrests, it is important that the community is aware of this trend and takes preventative steps to ensure their property remains secure from theft.
What can residents do to protect themselves from these types of thefts?
There are some measures that residents can take to mitigate the risk of having their vehicle(s) stolen:
Additional tips and information, including an educational video, can be found on our website:https://www.haltonpolice.ca/en/staying-safe/vehicle-theft-prevention-tips.aspx
Crime prevention is a shared responsibility. Call 911 if you witness a crime in progress. Call 905-825-4777 if you see suspicious vehicles or persons in your neighbourhood.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.
More property and casualty insurance industry professionals are working from today than six months ago — and more are “very satisfied” to be doing so, according to a Canadian Underwriter poll conducted last week.
Canadian Underwriter first asked the industry back in January about their satisfaction with working from home, and how they felt about a potential return to the office. We conducted the study again last week, between Monday and Wednesday, to see how opinions have changed over the last six months.
Today, 90% of P&C professionals report they are working from home, according to the 800 industry professionals who resonded to our Working From Home survey. Respondents included insurance company employees, brokers, risk managers, and claims professionals.
That’s an uptick from the 86% who said they were doing so in January.
COVID-19 was declared to be a global pandemic in March 2020. Over the past six months, many provinces have enacted lockdown measures of varying degrees of strictness to contain the spread of the virus; only recently have some started the early stages of re-opening. The insurance industry is an essential service, so the office ir offices are still open, but many employees have been working from home since last March to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Claims professionals who rely on videos and photos obtained through social media investigations need to make sure that evidence can be backed up as authentic, Virtual Symposium B.C. speakers suggest.
Several reasons explain why a social media investigation is useful during a claim, said Gavin Phillips, regional manager of investigations for xPera. Benefits include locating evidence, and identifying and locating witnesses.
“More and more, [social media investigations] are a critical component to determine the potential for recovery and legal action, especially when you are dealing with the kind of subjects who won’t necessarily keep properties, vehicles, and other assets in their name, but will not be able to resist posing with them on their Instagram accounts,” Phillips said Tuesday during a panel at Virtual Symposium B.C.
Also on the panel was Amelia Martin, a lawyer with Dolden Wallace Folick, whose areas of practice include defending bodily injury claims. When it comes to video and photo evidence, authenticity is important, Martin said during the panel on social media sleuthing.
“Essentially, the rule at law is you need to have a witness who is able to authenticate a photo or video that you are relying on.”
This is because electronic photos can be edited with software.
Alberta’s broker regulator has issued a civil penalty of $26,000 against a former broker found to have issued false insurance certificates to clients as “placeholders” until coverage was bound — which it never was.
The penalty was based on 52 examples of what council deemed to be fraud committed by the ex-broker, Hakan Bahadir. Council ordered him to pay $500 for each instance, totalling $26,000.
Council’s investigation followed the termination of Bahadir, a Level 1 agent, by his brokerage (cited in the report as A.I. Brokers), which no longer operates. In a comprehensive report to council, the former brokerage’s internal investigation found that 26 insurance clients, both commercial and private, were affected by the broker’s activities.
An Ontario judge has taken the rare approach in a sentencing decision to urge the provincial government to take steps to prevent future instances of insurance fraud.
Ontario Court Justice David S. Rose made the obitur remarks in his written reasons in R. v. Kasotty, released Wednesday. In his decision, Rose imposed a two-year conditional sentence on Vera Kasotty, who pleaded guilty to charges of Fraud Over $5,000 and Arson.
“It is not for a judge of the Ontario Court to recommend changes to the insurance scheme, or the unregulated nature of car towing, which will remedy this problem,” Rose wrote in his decision. “Solving this is the role of the legislature. What I do hope is that the legislature will take this up with the urgency required.”
Even though claims volume has significantly decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of claims flagged for possible fraud investigation remains comparable to pre-pandemic levels, RSA told Canadian Underwriter last week.
“From RSA’s perspective… this indicates [claims] with concerning loss details are at an all-time high, really,” Meagan Maher, SIU (special investigations unit) specialist with Unifund Assurance, said in an interview Thursday. Headquartered in St. John’s, Nfld. and specializing in home and auto insurance, Unifund is owned by The Johnson Corporation, a Canadian holding company controlled by U.K.-based Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group.
Hello CASIU members, well its March and the start of Fraud Prevention Month. While I’m sure our members are well aware of the different types of frauds being committed, I encourage you to be vigilant. Lets keep reporting the frauds and working together to prevent them.
Here are some useful internet sites:
IBC – Vigilance is key in fighting insurance fraud
Tips for consumers this Fraud Prevention Month
Recognize, reject and report fraud
On behalf of your CASIU Board.
Following the developing situation of COVID-19, the Board of Directors of CASIU have decided to cancel the 2020 conference at BMO IFL as a public safety measure.
The health and safety of our speakers, attendees, and staff is paramount and as of today the risks associated with COVID-19 and this type of event outweigh the acceptability of continuing with this conference. Many companies are prohibiting employees from attending group events and organizers are cancelling as a proactive means to prevent the further spread of this virus.
We would like to thank our speakers, staff, and the organizers who worked diligently to put this conference together. CASIU is working on strategies to ensure members continue to receive continuing educational opportunities.
We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.
Board of Directors, CASIU