NICB RELEASES “QUESTIONABLE CLAIMS” REPORT

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has issued its annual report of questionable claims in the United States.  Questionable claims are those claims that NICB member insurance companies refer to NICB for closer review and investigation based on one or more indicators of possible fraud.  Questionable claims have increased each year over the last three years.   The findings ranked the states and cities with the highest number of questionable claims over a three year period: (1) California (58,415); Florida (29,086); (3) Texas (27,107); (4) New York (23,402); and (5) Maryland (10,315).  The top five cities were New York (13,564); Los Angeles (7,779); Miami (5,503); Houston (5,464) and Baltimore (3,690).

The top five reasons for questionable claims classifications were:  (1) casualty-faked/exaggerated injury (50,472); (2) vehicle-questionable auto/boat/heavy equipment theft (35,508); (3) miscellaneous-prior loss/damage (29,646); (4) miscellaneous-fictitious loss (29,017); and (5) property-suspicious theft/loss non-vehicle (24,867).

NICB’s full report can be viewed and downloaded here.

CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION RECALLS LED LIGHT BULBS

Certain LED light bulbs imported by Lighting Science Group were recently recalled because the bulbs can overheat during use, posing a fire hazard.  The 120-volt LED bulbs, sold as 6- 8- and 9-watt bulbs (equivalent to 40 or 50 watts), were marketed under the brand names Definity, EcoSmart, Sylvania and Westinghouse.  Lighting Science Group is aware of 68 incidents of product failures.  There have been no reports of personal injuries, according to information listed on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Store maintenance and loss prevention teams should send bulletins to stores that may be using recalled products.  A robust plan to monitor, track, and alert stores to recalled products is a valuable way to minimize risk.

To read more:   http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/LED-Light-Bulbs-Recalled-by-Lighting-Science-Group/

(Post by Josh Rockwell, an associate at Perez & Morris, LLC. Josh’s practice focuses on retail risk management issues, property loss recovery, and cargo/transport issues. Josh manages cases nationwide.)

CAMERAS– USING FOOTAGE TO DOCUMENT CLAIMS PROCESS

It is an unfortunate fact that retailers have to contend with false claims or outright scams.

More and more, stores are using surveillance cameras in their claims review process, to catch and deter scam artists.

Good Morning America has reported on how some of these scammers have been caught using video footage.

Risk managers should carefully review their procedures on claims preparation to utilize surveillance footage to its full extent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=WOGviw50im4

 

(Post by Josh Rockwell, an associate at Perez & Morris, LLC. Josh’s practice focuses on retail risk management issues, property loss recovery, and cargo/transport issues. Josh manages cases nationwide.)

MALL OF AMERICA TURNS TO ISRAEL FOR SECURITY

One of America’s largest malls, the Mall of America, has deemphasized the exclusive reliance upon cameras and metal detectors and instead adopted Israel’s profiling techniques.

“…it uses the same three components as [Israel’s] Ben Gurion airport: detecting suspicious indicators, security interviewing … and operational deployment.”

The program is grounded in behavior profiling.  That is, it uses trained officers to identify “behavior that isn’t considered normal in the mall’s setting.”  According to MOA’s director of security:  ”We want this to be the new industry standard.”

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Behavior-Profiling-Security-Mall-of-America.html

SLIP AND FALL – WALMART PAYS FOR POPEYE DEFORMITY INJURY

A Walmart customer in Florida was awarded nearly $1.3 million by a jury for injuries sustained when he slipped on a Gatorade sign that had fallen on the floor.  The injuries were severe and included an abnormally bulging arm – known as Popeye Deformity.

Surveillance footage recorded the Gatorade sign falling and … [the customer] slipping on it minutes later.  Walmart argued that its employees didn’t have time to pick up the fallen display.  But, the plaintiff argued – apparently successfully – that if the display had been put together in accordance with Gatorade’s instructions the sign could not have fallen.

So, this is a case of liability turning on the retailer’s creation of the hazard, regardless of its knowledge that the sign had fallen.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276122/Man-suffers-Popeye-deformity-slipping-Walmart-awarded-1-3-million.html#ixzz2L5QhNPNX

P&M welcomes Attorney David Lopez

Attorney David Lopez joins the P&M team in New York. David’s background includes estate and commercial litigation, as well as estate planning, wealth preservation and asset protection planning. See David’s full bio under the “Attorneys” tab.

P&M Supports the Columbus NSHMBA Chapter

The recently founded Columbus Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (“NSHMBA”) was in full swing on January 24, 2013, holding their 2013 Kickoff Event at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company’s offices in Columbus’ Arena District.

Nationwide’s Chief Marketing Office, Matt Jauchius spoke on the importance of multicultural marketing in the insurance industry.  P&M attorneys turned out for the event so show their support.  To learn more about NSHMBA and upcoming events in Columbus, check out:  http://www.nshmba.org/group/Columbus.