Although this chapter examines fraud investigations primarily from the stand point of insurance claims, fraud exists in all areas of economic activity.
Boat owners are deceived by repair firms and vice versa. Boat buyers are deceived by boat sellers. There essentially is no limit to the kinds of situations that the marine investigator may be called on to investigate.
Fraud investigations rarely start out as such, but become fraud investigations as the result of uncovering evidence or indications of fraudulent activity related to some other line of work that the surveyor is engaged in.
A pre purchase survey once morphed into a stolen boat investigation; a boat owner requesting assistance with a boat yard dispute ends up as a major fraud investigation; the investigation of a stolen boat for a client turns into a case of business partner fraud. The possibilities are nearly endless.
So why should marine surveyors get involved with fraud investigations? Why aren't such matters simply turned over to police professionals whose job it is to deal with such matters?
The obvious answer is that police agencies show no interest in investigating what they consider petty crime; they have bigger fish to fry, so if the job is to be done at all, it has to be done by other professionals.
No marine surveyor who handles insurance claims can escape the issue of fraud because he will encounter it frequently. Insurance fraud is a rampant problem for the insurance industry, the rate of which grows every year, now estimated at nearly 85 billion dollars annually.
The South Carolina Attorney General's office estimated in 2002 that the insurance costs of the average family are increased by $1030.00 annually as the result of insurance fraud. Fraud is as rampant in marine insurance as in every other kind of insurance.Copyright© 2004 David H. Pascoe
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Table of Contents: Chapter 10
10. Fraud Investigations 339
Role of the Marine Surveyor 341
The Risks 342
Surplus Lines Insurance 343
Red Flags for Common Insurance Fraud 343
When Overstatement Becomes Fraud 345
The Uses of Evidence 346
When the Insured Has a Lawyer 346
Investigative Tactics 347
Hostile Third Party Lawyers 347
Tactical Delay and Exposure 348
Attacking the Cover Story 350
Revealing/Hiding an Investigation 351
Paper Trails: The Case of the Scheming Lawyer 352
False Documents 353
Altered Documents 353
Boat Repair Fraud and Collusion 354
Hidden Damages 354
Repairer Takes Up the Insured's Cause 356
String-Along Claims and Other Scam Tactics 357
Insured as Contractor 357
Sworn Statement in Proof of Loss 358
A Case of a Professional Fraudster 358
When Control is Lost 361
The Stop-Loss Technique 361
Bizarre Happenings 363
Vessel Theft Fraud 364
Indicators of Vessel Theft Fraud 364
Small Boats 366
Tracing Larger Boats 368
Ownership & Registration 369
Fictitious Boats 372
Develop a Profile 372
Federal Documentation 373
Witness Canvassing 374
Alteration of Official Documents 374
Lightning Strike Fraud 375
Injury Claims - Medical Bills 376
State Insurance Departments 378
Expand your marine business!
Conducting marine investigations can help free you from the limitations of a seasonal business and expand your business opportunities and income.
hires marine investigators?
In addition to insurance companies, specialist investigators merge their specialized pleasure craft knowledge with investigative abilities for a broad range of clientele.
can range from boat owners with serious warranty claim disputes and
faulty repair issues to being hired by lawyers as investigators as
either fact witnesses or expert witnesses.
Marine investigators often work for boat owners who are having trouble with insurance claim issues, assisting the boat owner obtain a proper claims settlement.
by David H. Pascoe
Publisher: D. H. Pascoe & Co., Inc.
David Pascoe - Biography
David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.
Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.
Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:
- "Mid Size Power Boats" (2003)
- "Buyers’ Guide to Outboard Boats" (2002)
- "Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats" (2001, 2nd Edition - 2005)
- "Marine Investigations" (2004).
In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.
In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.
On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.