Background checks are an invaluable piece of any investigation. But what constitutes a thorough background check? Many people think they know what a background check is in today’s digital age and believe it’s a simple name search in a public database, which anyone can get for pennies on the dollar. So, many ask themselves why they need to pay for a thorough background check with an investigator and if additional information will be discovered? The short answer is yes. An invaluable piece of information may be discovered. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Let’s look at this from a claims perspective. XYZ Trucking has a driver going through a busy construction zone. As the lanes merge into a single, compacted lane, a small sedan darts in front of the truck, only to start slowing down and riding its brakes. At the same time, another sedan attempts the same thing but is seemingly unable to merge because of the first sedan, resulting in a collision. The truck driver had a dashcam, and the collision looks suspicious. Suspicion alone obviously isn’t enough to deny a claim. However, more information comes to light when your subrogation investigator gets involved. In addition to the usual scene investigation, recorded statements, etc., the investigator conducts background checks on all parties involved. The investigator’s database reports don’t immediately show any red flags other than a traffic ticket or two. In the course of independently verifying the information contained within the database reports, it’s discovered the drivers of both sedans are neighbors, both of their driving records indicate automobile accidents within the last five years, and both were involved in lawsuits related to automobile collisions within the last two.

In the meantime, the claimant has already hired an attorney, who has made a demand for policy limits. Now, you need to fend off a lawsuit before it’s filed. The investigator continues his background research, obtaining court pleadings with injury claims matching those in the current attorney demand letter. Now you have justification for incurring the expense of a medical canvass, which reveals a decade-long record of obtaining prescription medications and a little surprise. While the claimant was listed as having been transported by ambulance to a local hospital, the hospital has absolutely no record of any such patient receiving services. Because of the thorough background check, you not only have justification to initially deny the injury portion of the claim, but sufficient justification for the issuance of subpoenas should the claimant’s attorney follow through with filing suit, and the basis for impeaching any false statements made through the discovery process, or in deposition. While an investigator cannot guarantee what the results of any portion of an investigation might be, the above indicates the necessity and value of a thorough background check, as the example above contains a combination of facts obtained from three real claims investigations.

The next time you have a suspicious claim on your desk, call Preferred Intelligence at 214-785-4504 and begin with a thorough background check of all parties involved.