SUI Corner: Investigating Staged Accidents
By Princess Spencer, Senior SIU Investigator
Staged accidents are a problem – one that’s on the increase. A Canal investigator recently participated in a meeting with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and defense attorneys regarding the training of the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) and Las Vegas police – both of which serve as the first line of defense.
Although staged accidents can happen anywhere in the U.S., the corridor between Las Vegas and California has been particularly hard hit with this crime, so there was much to learn from experts who face staged accidents with alarming regularity.
Given the trends, police are increasingly demanding immediate, onsite investigation of accidents to capture any suspect behavior. NICB agents are called to accident scenes 24/7. When multiple people from the same vehicle are involved, the police also insist on individual, face-to-face interviews, conducted separately to quickly identify any disparities between stories. Photos of each individual are also being taken at the accident scene itself to ensure the eventual claimant is the same as the person involved.
Identifying known patterns of behavior and instituting checks to recognize potential staging has been a positive first step in reversing recent trends. The insurance industry and law enforcement have created a strong partnership – but there’s a long way to go. These criminals can be remarkably brazen. Once one behavior is identified and added to the screening list, it seems new tactics are brainstormed. Regardless, Canal’s pledge to every insured is to continue accessing available resources, from law enforcement to legal counsel, so that we can provide carriers the accident investigation information they demand. Not only will this help insureds who are victimized by staging, it can also lead to quicker claim resolution for everyone and is yet another way Canal strives to deliver the best possible outcome.
Transformation Through Telematics: Creating a Safety-Focused Culture
By Gary Flaherty, Assistant Vice President, Risk Management Services
When talking safety, an extra set of eyes and ears is always a good thing. Of course, no company has the payroll to provide each driver an assistant, but telematic technology is turning into the next best thing. Using data from video event recorders and online monitoring tools not only tracks vehicle location and driver performance, but can also provide important points of dialogue between drivers and their companies. It offers an important line of defense should an accident occur, and identifies areas of needed training to potentially prevent accidents in the first place.
Telematics are, quite simply, one of the best ways drivers can identify issues now to prevent them from developing into entrenched bad habits. The tremendous insight that results is one of the main reasons Canal recommends telematics, and why we work with insureds to offer and manage such technology-based programs.
Tracking studies prove that telematics work – but management oversight is key. It’s not uncommon to see an immediate reduction in collision frequency and unsafe behavior soon after telematics are installed. But – if the assumption is installation is the only requirement for results, the true impact of telematics can be lost. It takes ongoing monitoring and follow up. It’s about gathering snapshots and creating patterns of behavior and then addressing them to create change and improvement. In the long run, a company-wide commitment to telematics can create a lasting positive safety culture, and when drivers are empowered to “own their own data” and utilize available training tools to improve, there is genuine opportunity to reduce unsafe driving and impact loss cost and loss frequency.
There’s likely more technology coming – safety tools we have yet to imagine – but for now, telematics prove the mark of a modern trucking company. And whether you’re already on board, or just now considering telematics, Canal is right beside you, ready to provide advice and guidance.