People are always looking for ways to make money. And some have resorted to begging, borrowing and stealing. But scammers have now found a shocking way to make a quick buck – cashing in on unclaimed bodies! They buy or rent the body from mortuaries and ten claim from insurance companies! A source close to forensic experts, who work with major insurance companies, said the crooks paid corrupt mortuary employees up to R3 000 for a corpse.
“Once they’ve got them, they forge documents and claim from the insurer. They then get the body, give him or her a funeral, and pocket the change,” said the source. A forensic officer said the crooks claimed from the insurer using details of a relative who’s covered in their funeral or life policies. They at times use false information by giving names of living relatives. They then vanish after burying the stranger,” said the officer.
The Association for Savings and Investment South Africa told Daily Sun they collected data – that people were renting or buying bodies – from various insurance companies. Convenor of the association’s claims standing committee, Donovan Herman, said life insurers owed it to honest policyholders to stop fraudulent claims. Honest policyholders will ultimately end up footing the bill through higher premiums driven by untenable claims rates,” he said. According to him, most fraudulent activity in 2018 took place in the funeral insurance space.
“Reports from forensic departments of life insurers show that the buying and renting of dead bodies for the purpose of obtaining fraudulent death certificates is a popular modus operandi,” said Herman. Old Mutual confirmed it often received fraudulent claims.
“We have systems and processes in place to detect and prevent the payout of fraudulent claims. When we suspect fraud, we apply additional checks to verify. It’s important to note that when a claim is sent for further assessment, it does not mean it will be declined,” said the insurer in a statement. Each claim must follow our normal claims verification and assessment process and is treated on its individual merits.
Funeral Industry Reformed Association spokesman Johan Rousseau said: “It’s outrageous. It’s fraud of the highest order and it must be stopped. Sangoma Jabulani Mthimunye told Daily Sun: “That’s why bad things are happening in Mzansi. We no longer respect the dead. Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said insurance companies should open cases against such people. They (fraudsters) can be charged with fraud,” he said.
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