The Claim Game

8:00pm Monday, April 11 on TV One

From the makers of hit TV2 series Rescue 1 comes a new local show The Claim Game which has gained unprecedented access to one of the country’s largest insurance companies. The series follows a crack team of adjusters and investigators on the frontline as they investigate all manner of claims.

Wherever there is a tragic accident, burglary or suspicious fire, an insurance assessor is only minutes behind the authorities. The team investigates the claims that just don’t add up and go inside fire scenes to comb the remains for signs of arson. Sometimes the improbable turns out to be true, sometimes the deceitful get found out.

In episode one, the investigators must determine the cause of a major fire at the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club and Caf�, a popular Wellington eatery and one of the oldest surf clubs in New Zealand; Loss adjuster Helen Langford helps a distraught client through a terrifying experience; and investigator, Euan Allan, must decide if a reported burglary is fraud or just an unfortunate misunderstanding.

With 10 years experience himself as a detective in the Metropolitan Police in London, Allan explains that most claims investigators come from an investigative background, “We’re 100% ex-police [in our company]. Really any investigative background would enable you to do the job but how do you get that investigative background without being a cop or a customs officers or working for SFO so most are ex-cops or ex-detectives.”

Asked whether there are any telltale signs of fraud to spot when investigating claims, he says, “fortunately for us most people aren’t good liars!”

He continues, “you’re looking for consistency in what you’re being told, how they react, does it sound rehearsed, has it deviated from what they’ve told you? Or have they told you word for word what’s on the claim form because then it may suggest its been rehearsed and if so why. There are non-verbals that you pick up, unwillingness to look you in the eye, tone of voice and even sweating profusely.”

Allan says his advice for people is to always keep your receipts, particularly for larger items, but also to report claims as soon as possible: “Giving us early notification in these days where there are cameras almost everywhere, there is a strong chance we may be able to lift the CCTV footage and this can aid us in identifying an offender,” he explains.

Allan says he works closely the police who are helpful in return he ensures his investigation doesn’t get in the way of any criminal investigation, “[I] just want to make sure that I am not charging ahead into my investigation and possibly compromising any investigation they may be conducting and in that case obviously I take a backseat and let the boys in blue weave their magic.”

In the case of a reported burglary featured in episode one, Allan explains what the issue was, “what’s Tim doing with a couple of thousand dollars of dive gear when he clearly doesn’t dive, so we suspect he’s inflating his claim, i.e. claiming for items he’s never owned.”

The claimant also changes his story half way through the investigation, “He didn’t have proof of ownership and a real popular thing people say to us is they bought it on Trade Me, but obviously we can go back through people’s Trade Me records and see what they purchased and sold. When [Tim] realised I could prove or disprove it, he changed his story and said actually my mate bought it at a building site,” concludes Allan.