Picture (Not So) Perfect

Picture not so perfect Stories

Damages from a burglary were claimed in the amount of approximately $30,000. The loot consisted mainly of jewelry, tools and photographic equipment. The latter was valued at $16,500. The insured party was only able to show us a small stack of photographs of people wearing the jewelry that had now been stolen.

There was no record of the existence of the professional camera with a lens that would have made any beginner paparazzi photographer green with envy. The insured party had no proof of purchase, no warranty documents, no model numbers and not even any (digital) photographs at that point. According to the insured party, the photographs were on data carriers that had also been stolen in the burglary…

During the first conversation with the insured party, we also asked about the night of the burglary. He told us that he and his partner had gone to the cinema that evening, but he could not remember which cinema. What about the film? The insured party remembered that the film was about a man that started a life of crime, but that was all he could tell us. You see, they had left the cinema before the end of the film, because they wanted to get a bite to eat at a burger restaurant belonging to a certain Mr Donald. When we attempted to create a timeline with the insured party, he claimed to have been at the restaurant for about an hour and a half. This did not help his credibility.

Not long after we visited the insured party, the investigator received an email containing five photographs. The insured party claimed that these photographs were taken with the now stolen camera. It was noticeable that the photographs did not display any details such as the dates on which they were taken or the details of the camera. What we did find was that some of the photographs were taken straight from the internet, such as a picture of the Eiffel Tower and the cover of a hotel brochure. The insured party had plucked the photographs off the internet and edited them. For example, the picture of the Eiffel Tower contained the sentence “Holiday in Paris 2013”.

So we paid the insured party another visit. He told us that he had put his photographs on the internet at some point. The photographs had then been used by Google and his daughter had re-downloaded them some time before the burglary. To prove this, the insured party handed over an SD card that contained the emailed photographs, or so he said. In reality, the SD card contained different photographs and the interesting thing about these pictures was that they did contain the details of the camera… But it wasn’t the camera that was reported stolen.

Despite everything, the insured party continued to play the holy innocent, as the saying goes. At one point, he did state that he would accept a lower amount of compensation because the jewelry was of emotional value and no money could replace them. However, this was just another indicator of fraud for our investigator. Quite a few more emails were exchanged, but the insured party had tied himself in too many knots and got stuck in his web of lies.

The claim was rejected and the necessary measures were taken. The insured party sent a few more messages in the subsequent period, which contained language that should not be repeated, and we thought it best not to reply to these.

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