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News & Press: IASIU News

SIU Today Preview: The Insurance Crime Bureau of South Africa

Thursday, March 22, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Greg Haag
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By Ron Bryant, Western States Regional Supervisor for Erie Insurance and
a Lifetime member of IASIU.

There is an African philosophy deeply rooted within the population of South Africa called “Ubuntu,” which is the belief in the advancement of public interest and shared community responsibility. With this foundation, in 2008, an organization was created with a vision to become an intelligence hub and leading authority to fight individuals and organized crime defrauding the insurance industry. The Insurance Crime Bureau works to combat insurance fraud and organized crime through the consolidation
of data, technology and specialized skills.

Hugo van Zyl is the Chief Operating Officer of The Insurance Crime Bureau. “Over the years, The Insurance Crime Bureau has built a strong brand of trust, integrity and cooperation with all of our stakeholders and partners,” Hugo said. Detection, prevention and effective investigation of fraud and crime impacting specifically the insurance industry are first in mind for all the operational staff. They are extremely effective in managing large volumes of cases, most often taking the lead to achieve success.”

South Africa is a challenging environment in which to fight crime. Recent statistics reveal a daily average of 52 cases of murder and approximately 200 vehicles stolen or hijacked. The country also has seen an increase in residential robberies and burglaries as well as other crimes. Cloned vehicles are also on the rise.

One solution to reduce crimes of all sort supported by The Insurance Crime Bureau is to promote effective Public Private Partnerships (PPP) requested by the Minister of Police and the Acting Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

These partnership agreements provide an opportunity to share information, resources, intelligence and training resources. Like the rest of the world, the South African insurance industry is competitive with ever increasing pressure to be better and move faster. Organized crime takes advantage of these pressures to defraud the industry. “Fast track” claims with low claim amounts have been previously undetected. Analytical systems implemented to mine data from claims have assisted The Insurance Crime Bureau in the detection of this behavior.

Project Android
• Multiple insurance carriers were defrauded by individual using different identities to submit volumes of “fast track” claims.
• The real identity of the fraudster was eventually uncovered even though he had gone to great lengths to hide his true identity.

Some recent successes of investigations involving The Insurance Crime Bureau and other law enforcement agencies were summarized in their 2017 Annual Report.

Project Larry
Five subjects were charged with murder, theft, fraud, corruption, defeating the ends of justice and money laundering.

• Claims were related to deaths in and around Pietermitzburg over a period of five months in 2016 and 2017.
• Causes of death included numerous hit and run accidents and drownings.
• Claims appeared to be made by different “unrelated” claimants.
• Investigation found some deceased had died of natural causes prior to the date of the claimed accident and some were committing murder and staging the death to look accidental or by drowning.
• An informant admitting being bribed to say a stranger’s body was her own brother. People with the same surname as the deceased were used to identify bodies.
• Multiple funeral homes and insurance companies were targeted in the scheme.
• Falsified police reports were used in some instances and the group had cultivated connections within the SAPS. One of the “claimants” had been employed by the Department of Health.


Murder for Money Schemes
• Typical murder for money crimes involves a claimant who has no insurable interest in the deceased and the deceased has not given their consent for the policy.
• Identification documents are provided by the victims in the hope of employment or other economic benefit. Members of the organized crime group obtain an insurance policy using the identification documents by obtaining a policy over the phone
or on the internet, as no physical inspection of the person being insured is required.
• Investigation discovered if body identification is required, and no one was murdered to make the claim, a body is “rented” from a corrupt funeral home or even a mortuary employee.
• Organized crime members include doctors, medical staff, brokers, insurance staff and even SAPS members.
• Work by The Insurance Crime Bureau continues and wider support, acceptance and involvement from the Life and Funeral Industry is needed to combat these crimes.


Project Mavis
This is an ongoing investigation with The Insurance Crime Bureau, rental companies, affected insurance carriers and SAPS.
• This involves at least 10 sizable syndicates of organized crime.
• Policies are obtained for the sole purpose of obtaining a rental vehicle to use as part of a staged accident ring 

Project Nemesis.

An insurance broker is currently on trial for fraud related to 43 claims.

• Involved the defrauding of multiple carriers.
• Changed multiple clients’ commercial policy contact and bank account details so that premium payments came from client bank account but claim payments were made to the broker’s own bank account.
• Made various claims for theft, property damage, lightning damage to electrical equipment and damages to his personal vehicle.


Written with information from the Summary of the 2017 Annual Report provided by The Insurance Crime Bureau. For more information, visit www.saicb.co.za.

The 2018 Annual Insurance Crime Bureau Conference recently took place in South Africa. 147 delegates attended sessions featuring 14 expert speakers who discussed what is needed in South Africa to have a significant impact on fraud and related crimes. Delegates from four African and two European countries were represented. In addition, students from the Institute of Commercial Forensic Practitioners attended, who were sponsored by the Insurance Crime Bureau.

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