Insurers have taken a step further to investigate the fidelity of your insurance claim. And, it’s on your social media platforms.
To verify certain claims, insurance providers have been using social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and even YouTube, to verify all information given by the claimant.
“Make sure what you tell your insurance company ties up with what you tell the world, because we can check,” says Christelle Fourie-Colman, Chief Executive Officer of MUA Insurance Acceptances.
2 Cases Where Social Media Resulted In Insurers Rejecting Claims
Fourie-Colman sat down with News24 to share some of the instances where social media actually enabled them to reject a claim that seemed somewhat suspicious.
1. Doctor: “It was an emergency”
A claimant, who was a medical doctor, filed a claim for a single vehicle accident that occurred at 4am, while he was out on an emergency call. Fourie-Colman says that a claim such as this would naturally require more investigation. This is due to the fact that it was a single vehicle accident and occurred between 11pm and 5am.
This is where insurers usually see reason enough to believe an accident was as a result of drunk driving.
“We went onto his Facebook page and, the night before, was actually his year-end function. We saw the venue, where it was, and were actually able to do a couple interviews. These led us to understand that he wasn’t out on an emergency call.
He was at the function from 6pm the following night to around 4am the next morning (same time as the accident), drinking the whole night through. His claim was rejected as we could prove he was under the influence of alcohol. If it wasn’t for social media, we wouldn’t have been able to gather that information.”
His social information was quite easily found and “was open for the world to see”.
2. Dad: “I was driving”
A claim was received by an owner of an exotic car. The car was only allowed to be driven by the insurer and his spouse (over a certain age).
“An accident happened and we had reason to be suspicious.”
The insurance company went onto his social media pages and saw a few instances of the owner of the exotic car’s 21-year-old son driving the R4 million car. All evidence was gathered through the many pictures the son had posted of himself behind the wheel.
“We could then take that information and investigate further.”
Needless to say, the insurance company had valid ground to reject the claim.
Claimants Admit To Selective Morality
A 2011 survey, reported by Risk SA, asked 30 000 insurance policyholders in nine European countries the hard questions when regarding their claims history.
- 16% admitted to having an exaggerated claim and said they would do so again.
- 18% believed it was acceptable to “pad” their claim by adding items.
- 44% believed it was acceptable to overstate the value of lost or damaged items.
The Consequences Of Submitting a Fraudulent Claim
Besides having your claim rejected, you could lose your insurance policy with your insurance provider. This is due to the fact that you become “a moral and unacceptable risk” to the insurer.
The SA Insurance Association estimates that local insurance fraud is in line with international trends and that fraudulent claims amount to about 30% of the claims submitted annually.
The majority of insurance fraud committed falls into the “soft fraud” category. This is a valid incident but, in some instances, the facts have been somewhat distorted or “padded”.
A fraudulent claim is considered “hard fraud” when a policyholder submits a claim for an incident that never happened (i.e.: the theft of their car).
The South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB) has worked closely with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to uncover hundreds of cases of car insurance fraud.
More than R8 million has been recovered and over 350 vehicles uplifted by the industry.