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Unsolicited Insurance House Calls Possible Scam

May 28, 2004

A FEW daysago I received amessage from aclient who has ahome, fire and naturaldisaster policyto cover his house.He was concernedbecause he hadreceived a visitfrom two men, purportingto beinspectors from theNational InsuranceInstitute (INS),who had looked over the house and said thatit was over insured and that INS wouldnever pay him if it were to burn down.The so-called inspectors did not leave areport or document of any kind to substantiatewho they were or what they had saidand done.There are so many things wrong here,it is frightening!INS inspectors are not appraisers (infact, some people think insurance agentsare qualified to appraise, we are not).SOME INS claims adjusters aretrained appraisers, but in this case myclient had no claim in progress so it wasunlikely for an adjuster to visit him.INS does not send inspectors to revisehomes that are already insured. Theysometimes send an inspector to revise aproperty which is in the process of beinginsured, in order to check on the insuranceagent, who is supposed to visit all the houseshe insures to make certain they haven’talready burned down!If there is a claim because of an eventaffecting an insured house, INS will sendan adjuster to make an inspection. But tomy knowledge, INS never, jamás, jamais,nunca, sends inspectors in other circumstances.Following the call from the client, weconsulted with several departments of INS,and they confirmed that no inspector hadbeen sent.SO who were these guys? My clientsays they flashed a card of sorts, but hedidn’t get a good look at it. I believe theywere hoods of the underworld, robbers,“casing the joint” (as I believe the technicalexpression is) prior to breaking in andcommitting burglary.So, kind readers, be warned! Unlessyou have a claim, do not let into your homeanyone purporting to be an INS inspector!Personally, I do not let into my housepersons of any sort who say they are inspectors,unless I have requested some service.Yes, we have let in personnel from theCosta Rican Electricity and TelecomInstitute (ICE) to revise the phones, peoplefrom the National Water and Sewer Service(AyA) to find water leaks or technicians tosee why the alarm is cheeping, but in thesecases we have always asked for an inspectionto be made.OVER the years there have been peopleringing the bell and wanting to come into make an (unsolicited) inspection, sayingthey are inspectors from the Municipality,the National Power and Light Company,and other service organizations, but wehave never let any of them beyond the gate.And we have a nice big sign warning ofa “Perro Bravo” (dangerous dog) whichwill probably bite any unauthorized visitor,hopefully to the bone.Garrett’s purpose is to give the readera better understanding of insurance inCosta Rica. The opinions and viewpointsexpressed are those of the writer, and donot necessarily represent the official positionof the National Insurance Institute(INS).

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