As we enter into 2022, we want to share some of the top trends we have seen in 2021 and expect to see more of in 2022. As always, we are here to support you with your data verification and education needs.
10. While COVID-19 has impacted the health of many, we have seen that it has shifted the way countries and cultures behave. Accepted cultural norms have been challenged and shifted. Many countries across the globe including “stable” countries, have made registering deaths easier than ever. Financial hardships have also encouraged some to turn to corruption and fraud to maintain a living. With this new and shifting landscape, the opportunity for fraud has greatly increased. The reliance on documentation at face value has never been riskier making in-person verification of foreign deaths being of absolute necessity.
9. We are seeing an uptick in frauds committed by nomadic groups, and the techniques are being mimicked by other organized crime groups. Possible insureds are targeted for their poor health, and applications are clean-sheeted, or substitutes are utilized for underwriting. Often, the insureds live beyond the contestable period allowing the schemes to go undetected or unchallenged. Defending against these schemes are often best managed by conducting link and block analysis on your claims. We can assist in the data collection and analysis of your blocks of claims and business to ferret out the bad actors.
8. Fraudsters are finding new ways to penetrate underwriting due in part to the streamlined approaches being employed. Methods include spoofing identity detection methods and taking advantage of some of the more limited question sets in simplified issued policies. Diligence already has strong inspection tools in place to assist you and we are developing more tools to defeat fraud at underwriting for 2022.
7. Because of “wealth” law changes in some countries, most notably China, we are seeing funds moving into the United States from overseas. One vehicle being used to shelter incoming cash is cash-value life insurance products. Along with this trend, there is an increased risk of insurance being used for money laundering. Diligence can assist with your inspection process on your new applications to ensure the funds received and the applicants are legitimate.
6. India has historically been a place where caution is warranted when deaths are reported there, but recently, we have seen an uptick in snakebite murders for the insurance proceeds. This trend has caught the attention of local media who have been reporting on this. In one recent case highlighted by the local media, the insured allegedly killed another person using a snakebite, and then tried to pass the deceased off as himself. As with most fraudulent cases, the perpetrators were able to obtain all the right documents which, in and of themselves, were legitimate. It was only through diligent investigations were the true insureds tracked and exposed.
5. Civil unrest in certain countries provides a cover for reporting fraudulent deaths hence increasing the perceived opportunity for cashing on an insurance policy by reporting a fraudulent death. Identifying these cases requires trusted investigators who are embedded in the regions. We see this continuing into 2022, but we have resources on-site who are skilled at navigating through the more volatile environment.
4. Murder for insurance is unfortunately something that does occur, and in some countries, it is quite prevalent. Latin America, for example, has countries at high risk for homicides due to drug cartels. Law enforcement agencies in many countries are overwhelmed, and as a result, murders are occasionally not identified, and even when they are, agencies may have limited resources or motivation to find the perpetrators.
3. We have all likely seen shows that play videos of people doing crazy things. We have caught on camera many acts this year that we wish we could play for you - like the deceased person celebrating his birthday (after his date of death, of course), and the disabled person taking a dip in the ocean with his scuba tank and gear. People do say the darndest things, and then do something else.
2. Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in the way they perpetrate crimes, often using hybrid or duplicate identities to mask their real identity. We have seen cases this year where the same person has multiple official identities (names, dates of birth, etc.) in order to play different roles such as insured and beneficiary simultaneously. Those clever enough to do this also know to wait beyond the contestable period to “kill” one of the identities. Ferreting out these cases takes diligence and persistence.
1. In the paraphrased words of Frank Abagnale, technological changes make it easier to commit crimes, not more difficult. For example, falsified documents have always been available to the astute, but now the sheer number and ease in which they can be obtained is staggering. We must continually update and enhance our data verification techniques to ensure that only the correct risks are accepted or paid. We do just that at Diligence. Diligence is continually investing in new technologies to stay on top of the fraudsters so you can be more comfortable in the risks you accept.
Do you have questions about trends, processes, or a particular case? Please give us a call – we would love to speak with you. At Diligence, we understand insurance and have a vast network domestically and internationally to assist you with your claim needs. We are just a phone call away at 800-660-4202, or check us out on the web at WWW.DIGroup-US.com