Where do I report suspected property claim fraud?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:35 am   Post subject: Where do I report suspected property claim fraud?  

I recently took a broken laptop to a mom and pop repair shop from which it was allegedly stolen. The shop owner notified me of the theft, told me he'd compensate me for the machine (but that "it was worth very little"), and asked for the serial number.

I gave him the serial number and he told me he was filing a claim (didn't say what kind, what for, or with which company). My homeowner's insurance covered my loss, so I filed that claim and was paid. I told the store owner that and asked that he pay my $250 deductible. Just as goodwill.

He said that he was handling it through his insurance and that he'd pay me what my machine was worth. He didn't say how much, but again noted "Your machine was not tremendously valuable."

I suspect he is filing a property claim on the machine, getting the same or similar $1799 that I got from my insurance company, and is going to pocket the difference from what he pays me (if he ends up paying me anything at all.)

I'm covered from the loss, but it bugs me that this fraud is potentially happening with my stuff!

Is there anything I can do? Where does one report potential fraud of at least a couple thousand bucks (don't know how many other customers he had) when the insurance company is unknown?

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:00 pm   Post subject:   

If the shop is filing a claim under their liability coverage then the only way their carrier will pay the claim is if they were negligent in some way. If they were negligent then your carrier should be seeking recovery from the shop for what they paid to you. They may not be... but they should.

Is there anything I can do?

Yeah... you should not be collecting twice for the same loss. What you _should_ be doing is telling your insurance company that they need to seek recovery from the shop for what they paid (you should only collect your deductible). The shops carrier should not be paying the shop directly unless the shop can prove that they paid out that amount to the parties who had their property stolen. The shops carrier should be considering a claim under the shops liability coverage. As such, the shop is not paid directly as the shop did not suffer a loss... they did not own the property that was stolen.

Again, what you really need to do is simply call your carrier and see if they want to rightfully collect the money that they paid out and give then the shop owners information. You may want to collect your deductible from the shop.

If your home owners premium goes up from this claim than find out if your carrier sought recovery from the shop. If not, then complain that your rates should not have been increase for this claim as they could have collected 100% of the loss from the shop but choose not to.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:35 pm   Post subject:   

Interesting, thanks for the information. When I spoke with my insurance company, they didn't ask for any of the store's details. Although they may have already had all the info they needed since I started the claim online and included the police report numbers (both mine and the one the store filed) there.

When the store owner told me that he was filing a claim, I called my insurance company and told them that I might be getting some money from him. They said that they would still cover the difference between the replacement value they put on it and whatever he paid me. I agreed to send them some money back if that happened.

Also, thanks for the tip about my premium. I'm curious if they will go after the shop. And I'll ask if my premium is going to be raised as a result of this.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:59 am   Post subject:   

You should continue to pursue the store owner (and or their liability insurance carrier) for your deductible. Your carrier might pursue them as well for the property damage benefits they paid to you (a process called subrogation). The theory of recovery will likely be something called “bailment” which is a form of liability that arises when one person (a bailor) places their property in the custody of another (a bailee). The bailee is responsible for the safekeeping and return of that property.


Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.


223 N. Monroe St., Media PA 19063

(877) 992-6311


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:42 am   Post subject:   

You can also report suspected insurance fraud to the State Dept of Insurance, the State Atty General's Office, or your local City or County District Attorney.


CA-licensed Life & Disability Analyst. CA Insurance Lic #0596197. Also investigating insurance company abuses, and providing litigation support/expert witness services. Send me your questions, and I'll send you my answers.
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