A Client who provided travel insurance asked us to look into a matter involving an Insured who had allegedly lost a bag full of video, computer and electronic equipment, totalling AUD$12,000.00 during their flight to New Zealand. The Insured had supplied receipts for each article lost along with a document showing that he had received compensation for the allegedly lost bag from the airline.
Despite making several appointments, the Insured who resided in regional Victoria, some 400km from Melbourne, avoided sitting for an interview. He also lodged several complaints re the investigation citing the ‘proof’ he had submitted of his loss, which was in compliance with the contract & policy provision. The Client was inclined to pay but allowed us the opportunity to complete our investigations.
We noted all the purchases were made from the same store. The Client had apparently contacted the store in question and had received verbal assurance that the receipts were ‘legitimate’.
The airline had also replied stating their compensation was also ‘legitimate’.
We aimed to confirm each of these ‘qualifications’.
We attended the electrical store and asked to speak with the Manager. We showed him the receipts that had been supplied and asked to see if they could be reconciled with their receipt book/accounts. After some convincing he agreed to check and found that although each of the stated articles had been purchased, each of them had been returned the following day and full refunds issued. No replacement articles were subsequently purchased.
We then contacted the airline. After checking baggage tag information we found that the bag that the Insured had allegedly lost (and subsequently received compensation for), never actually existed. Our checks confirmed that the Insured had not checked any bags in for this flight. The airline representative that we were liaising with was dumbfounded that they had paid compensation for the loss of a bag that had not even been checked in.
After consultation with our Client, it was agreed to prosecute this Insured for Fraud and subsequently, we lodged a Brief of Evidence with local law enforcement.
Some months later, we received a call from the local CIB (Criminal Investigation Bureau), thanking us for our work. Apparently, this particular individual had been on their radar for quite some time but they had never had (up until them), sufficient evidence to prosecute.
The matter had generated such notoriety, it was featured in the local newspaper.