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Investigation On Behalf Of the Carrier. Fire and Arson Investigator. December 1997.

Abstract: The insurance company is considered a private, corporate citizen with no connection to the government or authorities. They may face severe civil penalties for promoting a criminal investigation. This article explains the hardships insurance companies are confronted with when investigating fires.

Extra-contractual damages often deter insurance companies from prosecuting a case. These are punitive damages that juries are allowed to add on to the amount awarded the plaintiff if the insurance company loses the case. To avoid losing a civil suit, insurance investigators must be objective when examining the evidence. Unfounded suspicions or biased thoughts could work against the fire investigator in court. When determining the fire cause, the investigator should not take into account any evidence of motive. A cause of fire determination influenced by financial or other motive factors will benefit the insured rather than the insurance company in court.

Another hardship insurance companies face is the expense of conducting investigations of every suspicious fire. This requires that claims personnel must carefully select the cases to further investigate. They must select investigations that will benefit the insurance company. Investigators must also manage resources to cut avoid waste and inefficiency.

For more information, contact:
International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI)
300 Broadway Suite 100
St. Louis, MO 63102-2808
Phone: 314-621-1966

 
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