A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted


Frank’s day starts badly. When he gets to his car he finds that a window has been smashed and there are holes in the dashboard. The navigation system and the air conditioning unit have been removed. He reports this damage to his insurance company. The company decides to send a loss adjuster to inspect the damage. The loss adjuster notes that there is glass residue in the compartments that held the navigation system and the air conditioning unit. This is odd because no glass could have entered these compartments before these devices were removed. It appears that the window was only smashed after the devices were removed from the dashboard.

Policyholder VS Investigator: 0-1

The loss adjuster reports his findings to the Special Affairs department of the insurance company, which engages an external investigation agency. This agency obtains a read out of the car’s computer. In modern cars, computers not only control all kinds of functions but they also record technical problems or actions. The car’s computer registered that first the navigation system was removed from the vehicle and then six minutes later the air conditioning unit was removed. A comparison of the timing of the removal of the devices and the odometer readings showed that the car was driven one mile during this six minutes. This is also odd. For this reason, a factual investigator was called in to further clarify the case. He paid the policyholder a visit to discuss various aspects. The policyholder stated that he had found the car in exactly the same spot as where he parked it the night before. He was also certain that he had locked the vehicle and that the vehicle was still locked in the morning when he discovered the break-in. He said that the thieves had gained access to the car by smashing the window.

Using simple logic always helps

The policyholder was the only person who had access to all the keys to the car and in the six minutes between the removal of the two devices, the car had been driven and then returned to the same place. Moreover, it is very illogical for a thief who has the keys to smash a window after he has already removed the devices from the dashboard. The car was insured very recently.

The investigation clearly showed an attempt to defraud the insurance company. The insurance money would have allowed the policyholder to replace the navigation system and the air conditioning unit, while he had sold these ‘stolen’ items for a good price.

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