A Video True Crime Story from Barry Zalma's book "Insurance Fraud Costs Everyone"

Published March 17, 2021 80 Views

The Real Cost of Fraud & the Largest Residential Burglary of All Time

After twelve months trying to get insurance on over $3,000,000 in jewelry and a like amount of fine arts, a Taiwanese man who was a wanted criminal in his own country convinced two American insurers to agree to insure him against the risk of loss to the contents of his home.

To obtain the insurance he concealed from the American insurers that he was, at the time he purchased the insurance:

an alien a court had ordered deported; that in his home country he was a wanted criminal;
that he had left his home country with over $60,000,000.00 in checks unpaid;
that every insurer at Lloyd’s, London had refused to insure him;
that all of his property was appraised for more than twice its actual retail replacement value; and
that most of the antiques he had insured in reliance on an “appraisal” attesting to a $3,500,000 value, were fakes.

His application gave the impression that he was a Beverly Hills investor with appropriate concerns for security. He also made it clear that he was willing to pay a high premium for the protection, a fact that should have raised the concern of the underwriters asked to accept the risk of loss of his property.

Within seven days of the delivery of his policy, a “burglary” was reported. A total of $7,000,000.00 of specifically identified and scheduled personal property was reported stolen. He claimed an additional $2,000,000 in unscheduled diamonds were stolen from their hiding place in one of his 50 suit coats hanging in the closet.

The burglars had no problem effecting the burglary because the Insured was out of town. The burglars circumvented, what the insurers were told was a sophisticated central station alarm system, because it was merely a local gong type alarm that had never been turned on. They defeated the promised class E safe (one that requires at least 30 minutes to drill out the lock) with a simple wood drill since the actual safe was nothing more than a locking gun cabinet built into a closet.

Regardless of the available evidence of fraud the insurers, against the advice of counsel, paid $4,000,000 to avoid trial.

After twelve months trying to get insurance on over $3,000,000 in jewelry and a like amount of fine arts, a Taiwanese man who was a wanted criminal in his own country convinced two American insurers to agree to insure him against the risk of loss to the contents of his home.

To obtain the insurance he concealed from the American insurers that he was, at the time he purchased the insurance:

an alien a court had ordered deported; that in his home country he was a wanted criminal;
that he had left his home country with over $60,000,000.00 in checks unpaid;
that every insurer at Lloyd’s, London had refused to insure him;
that all of his property was appraised for more than twice its actual retail replacement value; and
that most of the antiques he had insured in reliance on an “appraisal” attesting to a $3,500,000 value, were fakes.

His application gave the impression that he was a Beverly Hills investor with appropriate concerns for security. He also made it clear that he was willing to pay a high premium for the protection, a fact that should have raised the concern of the underwriters asked to accept the risk of loss of his property.

Within seven days of the delivery of his policy, a “burglary” was reported. A total of $7,000,000.00 of specifically identified and scheduled personal property was reported stolen. He claimed an additional $2,000,000 in unscheduled diamonds were stolen from their hiding place in one of his 50 suit coats hanging in the closet.

The burglars had no problem effecting the burglary because the Insured was out of town. The burglars circumvented, what the insurers were told was a sophisticated central station alarm system, because it was merely a local gong type alarm that had never been turned on. They defeated the promised class E safe (one that requires at least 30 minutes to drill out the lock) with a simple wood drill since the actual safe was nothing more than a locking gun cabinet built into a closet.

The insurers refused to pay because they believed the insured made material misrepresentations and the concealment of material facts in the purchase of the insurance.

Once an insurer gets a reputation for paying for fraudulent claims rather than fighting with all of its assets those who perpetrate fraudulent claims will gather like vultures over a rotting carcass ready to pick the bones clean. The reverse is also true: when an insurer makes it clear it will never pay a fraudulent claim, regardless of cost, those who earn their living by fraud will stay away.

It is time that prosecutors learn that the victim is not the giant insurance company but each and every person who buys insurance.

© 2021 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com.

Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine/ACE Legend Award.

Over the last 53 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.

Go to the podcast Zalma On Insurance at https://anchor.fm/barry-zalma;  Follow Mr. Zalma on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bzalma; Go to Barry Zalma videos at Rumble.com at https://rumble.com/c/c-262921; Go to Barry Zalma on YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCysiZklEtxZsSF9DfC0Expg; Go to the Insurance Claims Library – https://zalma.com/blog/insurance-claims-library/ Read posts from Barry Zalma at https://parler.com/profile/Zalma/posts; and Read last two issues of ZIFL here.

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