Claims fraud trend
Companies hit hard by insurance scams
Barbados’ insurance companies are being hit hard by fraudulent personal injury claims.
Insurance executives have complained about the persistent problem to Crime Stoppers Barbados, contending that they’re racking up huge costs as a result of people, including those involved in accidents, lying about their injuries. The issue came to the fore at a recent meeting between representatives of the two groups.
“The longer that [people are] able to perpetuate that they are injured, the more insurance benefits that they’re able to claim for and so it is in fact a very, very costly crime to the industry,” director and head of business development for Crime Stoppers International, Devrol Dupigny, told Barbados TODAY.
The agency has received 77 reports of fraud since it began operating here. It is not clear how many of those involved personal injury.
Anton Lovell, chairman of the public relations committee of the General Insurance Association of Barbados confirmed in a brief statement that the body is “working with Crime Stoppers about the activity”. But the problem has not been confined to ordinary residents, Dupigny said, pointing out that some company bosses are also engaged in fraud.
“There’s an increase in occupational fraud within our businesses. Many of our businesses are hurting, some as a result of theft of diesel, theft of supplies and embezzlement, such as under-invoicing, and how that is being perpetrated by some of our CEOs and managing directors,” he said.
Overall, more than 1,500 offences have been reported to Crime Stoppers Barbados since 2009. Within that time, the crime-fighting agency has paid out in excess of $15,000 to residents who have called its 1-800-8477 number anonymously with tips. Those reports have so far led to
Some 500 of the reports were drug-related with another 146 being burglaries, theft and robberies. Another 90 involved firearms, 27 related to homicides, 90 were for traffic breaches, and a further 21 were child abuse and sexual assault reports.
“Crime Stoppers is not just for drug-related crimes or for murders . . . but crimes such as sexual abuse, domestic violence and child abuse. We’re even talking about things like copyright infringement. We received a number of reports as it relates to that,” Dupigny said.
He noted that while crime is down statistically, there is still concern about burglaries and Crime Stoppers is “working hand in hand with the Royal Barbados Police Force, both at the national mass media level and also in terms of community based interventions”.
The director also revealed to Barbados TODAY that they have been receiving increasing reports about residents planting marijuana in their backyards, open fields and even vacant lots in other communities.
“We’re seeing an increase in this type of information coming to Crime Stoppers from people who may be aware that their neighbours may be involved in this type of activity or someone from another community may be coming and using a vacant plot of land to cultivate cannabis,” he disclosed.
“We really need the public to be assured that our system is totally anonymous. They have that guarantee because if that guarantee is ever breached that is it, not only for Crime Stoppers Barbados [but] Crime Stoppers worldwide.”