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Marine Insurance Fraud and Field Investigation

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White collar crime, including marine insurance fraud, is on the rise, and our surveyors suggest that's because of the current economic conditions as well as the apparent ambivalence on the part of many marine insurance underwriters.
 
Guest Dan Rutherford says, "We are seeing claims presented for mechanical failures, sinkings, theft of equipment and fires that seem to have many suspicious origins."
 
We'll talk about the importance of documenting your case file, what the surveyor is and is not authorized to do, how to report to the client when there are potential bad faith ramifications, etc.
 
We'll also touch on the costs associated with claim handling both from the company perspective and the surveyor perspective.
 
"Currently," says Rutherford, "many underwriters are handling claims from inside the house rather than using outside vendors to reduce LAE (Loss Adjustment Expense). I think this is a false economy. The threshold when an underwriter would make the decision to hire an outside vendor used to be as low as $500.00. Then it was $2,500.00. Now we are hearing of claims being handled by inside adjusters for tens of thousands of dollars with no outside survey being completed. Underwriters are asking insureds or yards to photograph the damage and 'self report' with an estimate: If nothing looks fishy, then they settle and close the file. This has, in my opinion, had a profound effect on perpetuating fraud."

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