Source: Auto Theft Claim SIU Investigation, EUO Consultant. Court Qualified Auto Theft/Forensic Expert Witness. Serving 48 States.
I will break this down for simple understanding. SIU is the Special Investigation Unit. With the claim being referred to the SIU, this means they are looking at the insured not as a auto theft victim anymore, but someone suspected as submitting a fraudulent claim. What’s that? You had nothing to do with the reported theft? That attitde falls on deaf ears! You are guilty and the investigator is going to prove it!
The investigator has no proof to this because it simply isn’t true! The investigator doesn’t need proof other than the independent certified forensic locksmith they contracted who is insinuating that it was the insured’s key that last drove the vehicle!
So the insured is being accused by an unknown person referred to as an “independent” certified forensic locksmith (CFL) that wrote a report on your vehicle (the vehicle does not even have to be recovered where he examined no physical evidence) indicating for a conclusion that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type!
After your recorded statement, a number of facts (red flags a/k/a fraud indicators) were applied to the claim for the purpose of referring it to the SIU. The investigator went to the vendor list and assigned the claim to a CFL.
What is interesting here, is the investigator hand-picked the CFL, and the insured was never given the opportunity to have an expert representing them at the time of the CFL report. Why not? Does the insurance company have something to hide?
This is a process. Once the CFL has submitted his report, whether he examined the vehicle, keys, ignition, interrogated the computer and indicates the vehicle was last driven with a key for the vehicle, the investigator now has the green light for a full blown investigation on the insured. The insured’s involvement does not have to proven. The case being built is based on not what it is, but what it appears to be.
A good example for financial motivation goes like this: The vehicle was recovered a total loss. The insured might owe $28,000 on a vehicle worth $20,000.00. This is known as upside down in the vehicle. Now, let’s say the insured has gap insurance. Gap insurance picks up the difference from what is owed to the actual cash value of the vehicle.
The investigator will claim that the insured could not afford the payments and had the vehicle made into a total loss, so all the insured is responsible for is the deductible and the insured can walk away from any financial liability.
In another situation, let’s say the value of the vehicle is $60,000 and nott recovered. The motivation would be that insured has an astronomical amount of debt, and the insured’s motivation is that they would receive $60,000.00 cash! However, the one fact that the insurance company leaves out is the insured doesn’t get the cash as portrayed and the funds would go to the lien holder!
Insurance fraud is a major problem. I stand by the carriers in their investigations and have no bias against them. I commend the SIU.
The problem though is it is also common for an overzealous investigator to paint all insured’s with the same brush!
Sometimes the investigators put too much faith in their certified forensic locksmiths. I have pointed it out so often, commonly in court that the CFL in my opinion is being deceptive and giving the reader of his reports the false impression that because of their great forensic abilities, they are determining the last specific key used. What they are saying in their reports on recovered thefts, recovered stolen and burned and not recovered is the same exact conclusion of key of the proper type.
There was no scientific or technical skill required to reach this conclusion, but because they are using the badge of forensics, they must be able to determine the last key used. Are these reports specifying the insured’s first and every day use key? No! Are they saying the vehicle was last driven with the insured’s second key? No! Are they saying that the vehicle was last driven with a thief’s key? No! Yet, every one of these examples is a key of the proper type.
One might say that a newly cut key would leave fresh tool marks. How do they know this for a fact? This assumes that a newly cut key will have rough edges and will drag across the wafer lands (Where the key Rides). A competent locksmith and a thief don’t want problems inserting or removing a key, so they will buff all the rough edges. A smooth key is not going to leave any marks. That is simple common sense!
Even though the inventor (who is now retired) of the last key used process from the 90’s has stated in depositions, for a key to create wear patterns, it has to be inserted at least 500 times!
When it comes to the SIU investigation, one has to be very careful truthfully answering the questions! The investigator is convinced the insured has submitted a fraudulent claim, and this is not the time the insured should be defending themselves!
We consult the insured, letting them know up front, what type of loaded questions are going to be asked and how to truthfully address them. We are not lawyers and don’t give legal advice. However, we have given hundreds of hours of sworn testimony. We also prepare the insured for an EUO (Examination Under Oath).
We have over 20 years working with SIUs and we know the process extremely well.
If you are under an Auto Theft SIU investigation, give us a call!
Serve 50 states. Distance not a problem with investigation consultation. Everything is done through phone and email.