American consumers sink millions a year into insurance coverage for their homes, vehicles, and health. The expectation is that faithful and timely payments will cover them if an accident or catastrophic event occurs. Unfortunately, many learn all too late that this is not always the case. Worse yet, some consumers have been implicated in insurance fraud cases. What basis do the insurance companies have for denying these insurance claims? What evidence do they use to press charges against their own customers? The following explains.
Cell Phone Tower Data Leads Denied Claims and Criminal Charges
Insurance companies have been using cell phone tower data to deny claims for some time now, but they have recently escalated matters, often bringing criminal charges against their consumers. An Iowa woman, whose home had caught on fire in 2014, is a prime example.At the time of the fire, the woman claimed to be with her husband and coworkers nearly 17 miles from her home, but the insurance company collected cell phone data that placed her within five to 12 miles of her home. After denying her claim, they filed arson charges and insurance fraud charges against her. She spent the next three years trying to prove that she had not been at home at the time of the blaze.
Thankfully, the woman was eventually acquitted of the charges; she and her lawyer managed proved her innocence using the insurance company’s data against them. Within just minutes of returning to the campsite, she checked her voicemail. During this call, her phone pinged a tower near the campground. Moments later, her mother called. That time, her phone pinged a tower 17 miles away. Minutes later, her husband called, and this time, her phone pinged a tower almost 20 miles away.
What does all this prove? Why does it matter? It is all just another item in the insurance company’s bag of tricks – the one they often use to deny claims.
This goes beyond mere claim denial, though; it is bullying.
The issue is not reserved for a single company or type of claim either. A California couple is facing criminal charges for insurance fraud after they attempted to file a claim with their insurance carrier, claiming their car had been stolen. Their insurance company claims their cellphones pinged at a tower where the car was later found. Another California couple gave up on their claim after the insurance company started to insinuate they may have somehow been involved in the theft of their car. This is the goal the insurance company hopes to achieve; if they can scare their consumers, they can avoid paying out claims. That, of course, means more money in their pockets.
Protect Yourself While Pursuing Your Insurance Claim
Although you can pursue a new insurance claim or fight a denied one without legal assistance, it is highly advised that you seek experienced counsel. This will not only ensure your rights are protected during the claims process; it can increase your overall odds of reaching a positive outcome in your case. Learn more about how Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can serve you. Call 847-934-6000 and schedule a consultation with our Buffalo Grove insurance dispute lawyers
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.