Fraud insight: alleged sandstorm damage proved to be man made

  • Client yielded a savings in the range of $100,000

  • Insureds alleged damage occurred from sandstorms

  • Engineering expert concluded that damages were man made

Background

In the height of quarantine during Covid-19 our claims team received two claims for sandstorm damage to prestigious sport vehicles. The alleged sandstorm happened in extremely rural locations whilst the insureds were on round trips to outlet shopping malls. This non-specific loss information initially caused our alerted claims team to raise a few questions and an initial investigation. The investigation found that no sandstorm event had been reported in weather reports or local news reports. No social media posts confirmed reports of a sandstorm in the stated location.

How we helped

We initially hired field appraisals on the vehicles and appraisal photos supported wear & tear, however, the appraiser opined the vehicle had damage consistent with a sandstorm. Based on the inconsistencies and our experience, we appointed an engineering expert to inspect the vehicles.

After inspecting, the expert concluded that there was no evidence of damages from a sandstorm. While some of the damages was accumulated wear and tear, most damages were man-made and those damages were manually and discriminately inflicted using a tool, possibly a sandblaster.

Results

Due to our further investigations and experience, the claims were denied with no rebuttal from the insureds. We recently had another sandstorm claim presented and based on our handling of the first two, we undertook the same expert review which revealed the same findings, resulting in that claim also being denied. All three claims involved newer, higher sport vehicles. As a result, our client yielded a savings in the range of $100,000.

For more information, please contact Kyle Streetman, Vice President.

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