I’m a claims rep for a large insurance company. That means most of my day involves being yelled at for things outside my control. Many of my most furious callers are trying to commit insurance fraud. Spoilers: they’re not very good at it.
I received a new claim where my insured backed into another gentleman’s parked vehicle. Liability is straightforward; he hit a parked car. I expected it to be a nice quick easy claim, but who am I kidding that never happens. I call up the insured and discuss the claim, and delicately explain that it was his fault.
Insd: It’s not my fault. I didn’t cause any damage!
Me: Well sir, I can’t really find anything the other party did wrong, can you? We have a duty when backing our vehicle to-
Insd: But I didn’t cause any damage so there shouldn’t be a claim! And I know all that damage was there before the accident because I’ve worked on cars for twenty years!
At this point, I’m looking at the muched grill of the Ford Explorer that wasn’t quite big enough for my insured to see in his rearview mirror. No damage alright…
Insd: And I have a witness to prove it!
He provides me with the witnesses names and phone number, and I promise to give her a call. As standard protocol, I ask him if he knows the witness. Nope, only met her after the accident. Great. I let him know that I’ll be sending him letter stating that he is at fault for the accident, but if we do not find any damage he caused then his insurance rates will not be affected.
I go to call the witness, and something is off about her name: it’s familiar. Not a celebrity, not a note I put in the wrong claim… wait. No, he couldn’t be that stupid. But he was. He actually gave me the name of another driver on his policy and said he didn’t know them.
But he gave me the name, so I was obligated to call. The witness picked up on the first ring, and as soon as I introduced myself, she said that there was no damage to the other car. I hadn’t asked. She happily agreed to go on the record and tell me all about it. The witness provided her full name and correct spelling, date of birth, address, and driver’s license without so much as asking why. I probably could have gotten her bank PIN and SSN were I as unscrupulous as my insured. Sure enough, all exact matches for the information in our file. So I ask the million dollar question: Do you know our insured?
Witness: I’ve never met him before. Not even once.
Me: How about when you gave him your phone number?
Witness: I guess I met him once.
Me: So, you’re not on his insurance policy?
Witness: I don’t even have a car.
I look at the registration. The witness was listed as the registered owner. My insured was driving his witness’ car. I somehow managed to politely end the call without asking her if her pants had burst into flames.
We paid in full for the damages our insured most definitely caused to the innocent driver’s vehicle with no issues whatsoever. My insured, instead, had his policy cancelled because it turns out that he has a pattern of really terrible lies. The witness was his mother. I’m sure they never met when she gave birth to him, and they must have just taken shifts living at their shared address. They are both under investigation by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, because it turns out that were running a scam through the auto repair business he claimed to work for for twenty years. And me? I’m mostly surprised that there was a grain of truth in his story. I shrugged, chugged my coffee, and got back on the phone.
TL;DR: “I’ve never met my mother before, I swear!” -my insured